by Loren G. Edelstein | August 11, 2015

Some second-tier cities are displacing major metro areas for meetings business, revealed Cvent's fourth annual list of the top meeting cities, released today. Orlando reclaimed the top spot on the 2015 list, a position the city last held in 2013. Las Vegas rose from third place to second, while Chicago dropped from first place to third over the course of the year.

To determine the ranking, the meetings tech giant evaluated more than 5,000 U.S. cities featured in its Cvent Supplier Network platform. Activity was tracked from July 2014 to June 2015, with the ranking determined by six criteria: unique requests for proposal received; total room nights; awarded RFPs; awarded room nights; percentage of qualified meeting venues, and number of profile views.

"Competition for meetings and conventions business continues to be very heated between destinations that are eager to attract events to boost their local economies," said Bharet Malhotra, senior vice president of sales for the Cvent Supplier Network. "This year we witnessed several cities jockeying for a position in the top-50 list, with significant movement within the ranks. One of the interesting trends this year has been the rise of smaller cities moving ahead of and even displacing destinations that are near large metro areas but not downtown."

Smaller cities have been actively investing in and expanding their infrastructure and attractions, including property renovations. Many of these locations are winning significant new business by serving as compelling regional alternatives to top-tier destinations. Among destinations edging into top 50 this year that did not make the 2014 ranking: Pittsburgh; Jacksonville, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Charleston, S.C. Cities that climbed higher this year include Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; and Tampa, Fla. Meanwhile, markets near major cities like Fort Worth, Texas; and Coronado, Calif., slipped in the ranking.

The top 50 cities for 2015:

1. Orlando
2. Las Vegas
3. Chicago
4. San Diego
5. Atlanta
6. Washington, D.C.
7. New York City
8. Dallas
9. Nashville
10. Phoenix
11. Miami
12. New Orleans
13. Denver
14. San Francisco
15. San Antonio
16. Boston
17. Austin, Texas
18. Scottsdale, Ariz.
19. Houston
20. Los Angeles
21. Philadelphia
22. Seattle
23. Grapevine, Texas
24. Kissimmee, Fla.
25. Charlotte, N.C.
26. Tampa, Fla.
27. Anaheim, Calif.
28. Minneapolis
29. St. Louis
30. Baltimore
31. Indianapolis
32. Fort Lauderdale
33. Fort Worth, Texas
34. Rosemont, Ill.
35. National Harbor, Md.
36. Arlington, Va.
37. Hollywood, Fla.
38. Kansas City, Mo.
39. Irving, Texas
40. Portland, Ore.
41. Columbus, Ohio
42. San Jose, Calif.
43. Pittsburgh
44. Coronado, Calif.
45. Louisville, Ky.
46. Salt Lake City
47. Jacksonville, Fla.
48. Tucson, Ariz.
49. Long Beach, Calif.
50. Charleston, S.C.