3 Ways Second-Tier Cities Shine in the Meetings Spotlight
If you’re new to meeting planning, you are probably not familiar with the “tiers” that destination cities fall into. First, second, and third tier are not to be confused with first, second, and third place or good, better, best! Tiers are simply based on city size. Generally, first-tier cities have a population of over one million; second-tier cities have a population between 300,000 and one million; and third-tier cities are the smallest – under 300,000. While each tier has its benefits, the sweet spot in finding the perfect destination city for events has quickly been found in second-tier cities.
1 – Second-Tier Cities Offer Better Value
Even with advances in technology that make having virtual meetings more feasible, popularity of conferences and conventions has not suffered. But exorbitant meeting spending has! Meeting planner budgets are constantly being squeezed. We are under pressure to deliver fantastic events using smaller budgets. Planning an event in a second-tier city has become the most effective solution. These mid-sized cities offer a better value than their first-tier counterparts without losing the first-class feel! With lower tax rates, state of the art convention center districts and impressive hotels, attendees and meeting planners don’t have to sacrifice luxury and quality for a lower price.
Second-tier cities are especially ideal for the regional market. They offer a central location with direct flight accessibility. And, if that isn’t enough, the CVBs in these cities are usually more hands-on in helping meeting planners with promotions and meeting activities.
2 – Second-Tier Cities Offer Revitalized Downtown Convention Center Districts
Second-tier cities are taking the stage in the conference planning scene. They have boosted their tourism infrastructure to become more attractive to travelers and event planners alike. With recent revitalization of downtown convention center districts, what was previously a standalone convention center is now a vibrant city center offering a one-stop shop for meeting planners. Not only have second-tier cities revitalized their downtown cores, they have also integrated new residential and commercial urban ecosystems to create hotspots around meeting facilities. Travelers enjoy visiting cities with a thriving urban lifestyle.
3 – Second-Tier Cities Are Popular with Millennials
Second-tier cities are becoming increasingly more attractive to millennials who prefer to travel to unique places that offer a hip culture, a thriving and diverse night life, unique outdoor environments. Most importantly to millennials, second-tier cities aren’t over-crowded; they are spared of the abundance of tourists the first-tier cities see. This makes things more relaxed for meeting attendees. It’s the perfect scenario for the savvy millennial traveler. While there is still plenty of history and culture to be explored in second-tier cities, it’s easier to get around town, venues aren’t congested, and people are generally friendlier and more welcoming.
Meeting planners should seriously consider stepping out of their first-tier city comfort zone and explore the potential of less known destinations – the benefits might be significantly higher than expected. Second-tier cities offer an appealing package of economical value, cultural perks, and a reliable infrastructure which will surely make a long-lasting positive impression on both meeting planners and attendees.