CWT Meetings & Events, a division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, released its annual top 10 cities for meetings and events in North America list—and there’s a lot of movement.

Las Vegas, CWT’s top-ranked city for meetings and events for 2019, toppled to number 10 in the rankings for 2020. New York City took the top spot in 2020, followed by San Francisco and Chicago.

Orlando fell from the number three position down to eighth place.

CWT's Top Cities for Meetings and Events

The 2020 list is as follows, with 2019 rankings in parentheses:

  1. New York City (2)
  2. San Francisco (8)
  3. Chicago (9)
  4. Atlanta (-)
  5. Toronto (-)
  6. San Diego (-)
  7. Seattle (7)
  8. Orlando (3)
  9. Dallas/Fort Worth (6)
  10. Las Vegas (1)

The rankings are based on proprietary and industry data in CWT’s 2020 Meetings & Events Future Trends report, which will be published in the second week of September.

Cities on the Rise in 2020

CWT also predicted five destinations it expects to make waves next year.

Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Austin, Houston and Portland are gaining steam in the meetings and events industry and are on track to crack the top 10.

CWT cites better values and an increasing number of meeting and event facilities as the reasons these cities are poised to compete with their top-tier counterparts.  

Indeed, we found that Minneapolis and its other Twin Cities half, St. Paul, are making big strides in the meetings and events space, thanks to the new sports facilities in the region and the hosting of major events like Super Bowl LII and 2019’s NCAA Final Four tournament.

Portland is injecting significant development to its convention center district, and as we found in 2019’s Meetings Today Texas supplement, Austin, Houston and many other Texas cities aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Politics and the Economy Affect 2020 Booking Windows

The heat of politics in Washington, D.C., is starting to show its burn on the meetings industry. Though CWT’s report finds that demand for meetings and events continues to rise in North America, the pace of growth has slowed, thanks in part to the tumultuous political climate.

“Political events have a direct impact more than ever on companies’ quarterly and annual outlooks,” said Tony Wagner, vice president, Americas and South Pacific regions for CWT Meetings & Events. “Some industry segments are pulling back and are being [cautious].”

CWT’s report states that “fears of a looming economic slump” as a result of the deepening trade war between the U.S. and China—two of the world’s largest economies—is having a direct impact on booking times as well.

According to CWT, the average planning window can be as short as three months out from an event, as opposed to the average six months in previous years.

For a direct comparison to last year’s stats, read the predicted 2019 trends.

Check out our coverage of CWT's 2020 Meetings Trends, released at IMEX America 2019.

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