December 04, 2017

When group business is healthy, there are a lot of positive side effects. One consequence is that many city locations may have less availability and higher rates, driving business to many secondary locations. For planners, that means an increased focus on outlying areas and secondary cities. And that's a good thing, as many suburban locales typically have higher availability and significantly lower rates and associated costs.

Many of these neighboring locations are winning significant business by being regional alternatives to top-tier, and top-price, destinations. And as more and more meetings and events expand out to these locations, more capital is available to actively invest and expand their infrastructure, amenities and attractions.

Visitors take an eco-cruise with the Hackensack Riverkeeper Through the NJ Meadowlands
The upside

Advantages to "outside the metropolis" locations include:
> A pricing structure that large cities can't compete with. From vendors to venues to the simple cost of living, a few miles in distance can mean a huge difference in savings.
> The factor of "big-city fatigue." The idea that attendees, worn out from a seemingly endless string of events held in mid-city, need to get away from the crowds and congestion. 
> More personalized service. Neighboring locations feature "small town" service and an overall smaller scale, which can make the event easier to manage.
> The price tag of transportation. Parking is more plentiful and often free in the typically space-abundant outerlands.
> Access to city attractions. Not forgoing the city entirely, planners can cherry-pick the city activities they choose, then getting back out of town for dining and overnight stays.

Live horse racing from the Meadowlands Racetrack
A case in point

One example is the Meadowlands region of New Jersey, right outside New York City. "The Meadowlands area offers the best of both worlds. We're close enough to Manhattan for groups to enjoy what it has to offer, without the hassles and high costs of staying there," says Jim Kirkos, president and CEO of Meadowlands Liberty CVB. The area is in the shadow of Manhattan, but can hold its own with more than 40 hotels and about 10,000 hotel rooms. 

A couple takes a bike ride through Liberty State Park
Competition or cooperation?

These nearby locations generally don't choose to compete with their larger cousins, they choose to stand on their own merits and proudly tout their offerings. In the case of the Meadowlands, there are many venues that can accommodate larger groups: the Meadowlands Arena, MetLife Stadium (pictured above), the Meadowlands Expo Center and many other meetings venues of all sizes at budget-friendly rates. Or how about booking your group on a dinner cruise up and down the Hudson River, sailing at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, or a day in Liberty State Park?

For more detail on how your budget can benefit from holding your meeting in the Meadowlands, visit