You already know that Orlando is the No. 1 most visited tourist destination on the planet, right? But according to Cvent, Orlando has been named the No. 1 meetings destination in the country for the fifth time in six years. That in itself may not shock anyone who has braved the traffic on International Drive during one of those monsters exhibit shows like, perhaps, PGA that averages between 35-40 thousand attendees each year.
But the real news here is probably not that we’re No. 1. It’s that Cvent looked at bookings in over 5000 U.S. cities before proclaiming us the top dog. Yeah, that kind of makes it a big deal, right?
How did we get there? Consider this:
- Orlando has almost 120,000 hotel rooms spread out over more than 450 hotels and resorts
- Of the combined total of hotels and resorts, Orlando has more than 150 meetings-specific hotels which makes it the largest cluster of its kind in the East
- the Orange County Convention Center is the second largest convention facility in the United States (Chicago’s McCormick Place still holds the top spot)
- at least four major convention hotels located right here in Orlando made it into the top 25 list of Top Meeting Hotels in the US, and one, the Hyatt Regency Orlando, placed No. 9 on that prestigious list. Following closely behind were the Rosen Shingle Creek, Hilton Orlando, Hilton Bonnet Creek, and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Complex. Then we had five more in the overall top 100 – Gaylord Palms, JW Marriott, World Center Marriott, Loews Royal Pacific and Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.
So now maybe you’re getting a little better picture of why we are top dawg in the meetings industry, too, right? The stats are not just about bragging rights for a city’s convention center. It’s about the overall amount of meeting space, hotel rooms, and venue options that planners have to research in order to find the right spot to host their conference or business meeting.
So, what is Cvent and why are they qualified to make these impressive claims? This is a company founded in 1999 that is considered by most in the hospitality industry to be the global leader in meeting, event, and travel technology tools. Think things like on line registration formatting, management of venue selection, overall event management processes and so much more. They also compile venue directories for just about any place you want to hold a meeting or event and have multiple global offices to support their worldwide network, so yeah, they’re kind of a big deal in this industry.
Beyond Orlando, some stats show that there are over 1.8 million meetings and events that occur in the United States each year, and by some estimates that brings in a combined total of over $393 Billion [direct and indirect] to the annual GDP which makes this industry big stuff everywhere, not just here in Orlando.
But since I’m concentrating on Orlando, let’s just get two more important stats out there: we have also been named the 2nd most FUN city (losing only to Las Vegas, so read into that FUN word whatever you wish. . .), AND we have the most bars per 100,000 residents (estimated ratio at 215.81 bars/100K residents). Now isn’t that something to be proud of?