by Allen J. Sheinman | April 09, 2018
Destination websites and industry trade shows are the key sources for planners in determining meeting and event site selection today, according to a new report from industry analytics firm STR. Also vital: Three-quarters of all meeting planners turned to a meetings industry trade publication in 2017, with Northstar Travel Media's Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings   coming in at numbers one and two, respectfully, as most-read.
 
The findings appear in the new DestinationMAP 2017 survey, conducted every two years by STR, the Hendersonville, Tenn.-based research firm that tracks supply and demand data for multiple market sectors, including the global hotel industry. The latest report, STR's 17th edition, is based on surveys completed in April-May 2017 by 865 meeting professionals who have planned gatherings of 100+ attendees and considered at least three of 40 major North American meeting markets. Of all respondents, 40 percent were corporate, 29 percent association and 31 percent third-party planners.
 
"It would be difficult to overstate the importance of destination marketing," stressed the report, which found that destination websites were the leading destination-marketing channel, cited by 67 percent of respondents, followed by online advertising (44 percent), destination-sponsored events (43 percent) and trade shows (40 percent).
 
When queried about their participation in industry trade shows, a new category for the survey, 19 percent of all respondents said they had attended the most recent IMEX conference, followed by local and national Meeting Professionals International events (17 percent), American Society of Association Executives' Annual Meeting & Expo (16 percent), and local and national Professional Convention Management Association events (15 percent).

The study also emphasized that trade publications are a vital source of information for planners of all types. When asked, "What trade publications do you read (digital and hard copy)?" Northstar Travel Media's Meetings & Conventions took the top spot, cited by 40 percent of respondents, while 34 percent turn to Successful Meetings (also published by Northstar) and 32 percent read the Meeting Professional (published by MPI).