Knowland: Secondary Markets Surpass Top 25 in Meetings and Events Growth

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ARLINGTON, Virginia—Knowland reported meetings and events in secondary markets outpaced the traditional Top 25 markets in January. Most notably, the highest growth Top 25 market, Nashville, Tennesee, was up 16.1 percent, while the top growth secondary market city, Lexington, Kentucky, had a 76.4 percent uptick in meetings and events for the month. This suggests a trend that indicates meeting planners are sometimes opting for secondary destinations to reduce costs.

When comparing the top 25 and secondary markets for industry segment performance, both the top 25 market, Los Angeles, and the secondary market, Columbus, Ohio, led in education segment events. Top 25 market Orlando, Florida, saw the most technology and healthcare meetings in January, with Austin, Texas, leading in secondary markets for those industry segments. The average space used for meetings in the Top 25 markets was 3,426 square feet, while secondary markets were slightly less at 3,000 square feet. Average attendees were 124 in the Top 25, while secondary markets averaged 118 attendees.

  • Top five markets by YOY growth in event volume: Nashville ranked highest in the Top 25 U.S. markets, hosting technology and healthcare.
    • Nashville (up 16.1 percent): Technology, healthcare, national association, manufacturing, pharmaceutical/biotechnology.
    • Detroit (up 10.4 percent): Education, financial/banking, manufacturing, healthcare, state association.
    • New Orleans (up 7.8 percent): National association, technology, healthcare, training/education, charity/nonprofit/social services.
    • San Francisco-San Mateo (up 7.3 percent): Pharmaceutical/biotechnology, financial/banking, technology, national association, healthcare.
    • Tampa-St. Petersburg (up 5.3 percent): National association, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, charity/nonprofit/social services.
  • Top five secondary markets by YOY growth in event volume: While education and state associations were big in Lexington, Kentucky, the following five high-growth secondary markets and top industries were:
    • Lexington, Kentucky (up 76.4 percent): Education
    • Syracuse, New York (up 34.6 percent): Social/sports
    • Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia (up 33.4 percent): State association
    • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (up 29.1 percent): Technology
    • Louisville, Kentucky (up 24.1 percent): National association
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