by Michael J. Shapiro | March 28, 2017
Meetings technology giant Cvent has unveiled its annual lists of top meetings hotels, and has expanded its increasingly global reach in the process. In addition to issuing its list of the top 100 meetings hotels in the U.S., the company has created top-50 lists of meetings properties in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and, for the first time ever, in the Asia Pacific region. The EMEA list represents an expansion of last year's inaugural, top-25 list. It is the fifth year Cvent has compiled a list of top hotels stateside.

The rankings are based on an analysis of data from the Cvent Supplier Network, through which planners issued RFPs representing more than $11 billion worth of business globally in the 2016 calendar year. Rankings criteria included the total number of RFPs received by each property over that time period, as well as how many RFPs were awarded, how many total room nights those RFPs included, actual awarded room nights and various other factors. 

Top U.S. Meetings Hotels
The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, in Nashville, Tenn., topped the 2017 list for U.S. properties, moving up from second place last year. It was the second consecutive year a Nashville property was on top; last year's champ, the Omni Nashville Hotel, fell to number 6 on this year's list. Four hotels broke into the top 10 list for the first time: JW Marriott Austin (Texas), The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego and Mandalay Bay Resort (Las Vegas). 

The metropolitan areas with the most hotels in the top 100 are, in order, Orlando, Las Vegas and Chicago. The hotel company with the most properties on that list is Marriott, followed by Hilton and then Hyatt.

Top 10
1. Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Nashville
2. The Venetian and Palazzo Resort, Hotel & Casinos, Las Vegas
3. ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
4. JW Marriott Austin (Tex.)
5. Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, Tex.
6. Omni Nashville Hotel
7. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Ariz.
8. Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
9. Hyatt Regency Orlando
10. Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas

Top EMEA Meetings Hotels
For the second year in a row, a Barcelona hotel topped the EMEA list: The Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona scored the number-one spot for 2017, while last year's top property, Hotel Arts Barcelona, dropped to third this year. Four properties broke into the top 10 for the first time: Meliá Castilla Hotel & Convention Center Madrid (Spain), Möevenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre ijVENUES (Netherlands), Hilton Vienna (Austria) and Rome Marriott Park Hotel (Italy). The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai is the first Middle East property to make this list, clocking in at 45th.

Hilton, Marriott and Intercontinental, in that order, had the most properties in the top 50.

Top 10
1. Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona, Spain
2. Hilton Prague, Czech Republic
3. Hotel Arts Barcelona, Spain
4. Melia Castilla Hotel & Convention Center Madrid, Spain
5. W Barcelona, Spain
6. Hilton London Metropole, U.K.
7. Möevenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre ijVENUES, Netherlands
8. Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel & Conference Center, Germany
9. Hilton Vienna, Austria
10. Rome Marriott Park Hotel, Italy

Top APAC Meetings Hotels
Seven out of the top 10 hotels in the APAC region are in Singapore, with the Marina Bay Sands taking top honors. The remaining three top-10 properties are in Sydney, Australia. Hilton, Hyatt and Intercontinental were the chains with the most properties among the top 50.

Top 10
1. Marina Bay Sands Singapore
2. Grand Hyatt Singapore
3. Shangri-la Hotel, Sydney
4. Hilton Singapore
5. Conrad Centennial Singapore
6. Fairmont Singapore
7. Hilton Sydney
8. InterContinental Sydney
9. Pan Pacific Singapore
10. InterContinental Singapore

Cvent's Expanding Database
Cvent doesn't disclose regional breakouts of the RFP volume, so it isn't clear just how much data has determined the rankings for EMEA and APAC. "We've seen steady increases across all regions," said Kevin Fliess, vice president of marketing for Cvent's Hospitality Cloud. "Obviously, we've got more history in North America, in terms of the adoption of the Cvent platform. Whereas EMEA and APAC are really still emerging markets for us. That's why you didn't see those lists earlier; we wanted to make sure we had a critical mass of data before we published those rankings."

Whatever the exact numbers represented by that mass, the RFPs are coming from local businesses as well as U.S.-based planners. About half of the APAC RFPs are inquiries from within the region, while in EMEA, according to Cvent, the notable majority of RFPs are EMEA-based.

And while Cvent contines to grow via acquisitions - the most significant being the recent merger with former competitor Lanyon - the data for the list continues to come only from the Cvent Supplier Network, while the ranking criteria remaining consistent with previous years.

"That gives us a true year-over-year comparison, so we can keep tabs of how things shift," noted Fliess. As for incorporating Lanyon data, Cvent will be looking at that possibility, said Fliess. "We're still working on the integration," he said. "If we were to layer in Lanyon data, we'd just want to make sure that we maintain the integrity of the results. There's a significant amount of volume running through Lanyon that we're not including in that $11 billion."

Over the past few years, Cvent also has acquired the SpeedRFP and sourcing platforms; including Lanyon and the Cvent Supplier Network, the company now has four channels' worth of sourcing data. "It would be difficult to say whether including the data from those other channels would affect the results of our rankings," noted Fliess. That will be seen as Cvent works to integrate its various components over the coming years.