by Jonathan Vatner | June 01, 2006

Smoke-free hotels are preferred: 38%

Smoke-free hotels are avoided: 12%

It’s not a factor: 50%

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chartFiner details about a destination can sway site-selection decisions, reveals the latest survey by M&C Research. Beyond major factors like airlift and adequate hotel inventory, local taxes and laws also play a role in the choice of where to hold a meeting.

Not surprisingly, three-quarters (75 percent) of the 348 meeting planners polled say tax rates are “very” or “somewhat” important when choosing a city. In fact, if a city were to increase its occupancy taxes, 11 percent of respondents say that move would definitely affect their decision to meet there, and 46 percent say it would influence the decision somewhat.

Smoking bans are another hot button. One-third (33 percent) say a citywide ban would be somewhat of a plus, and another 5 percent say a smoking ban is required for a city to be in the running. On the other hand, 11 percent consider it somewhat of a negative, with 2 percent forgoing cities that ban indoor smoking.

The lines are similarly drawn when it comes to hotels snuffing out cigarettes in guest rooms. While half say such a move wouldn’t matter, 38 percent favor smoke-free hotels, and 12 percent avoid them.

Only 5 percent believe the choice of a convention and visitor bureau president would affect their decision to hold a meeting in a given destination. However, 33 percent admit the political beliefs of a city’s top officials would affect site selection.

Interestingly, 79 percent say local legislation regarding controversial topics such as gun control or same-sex marriage don’t come into play when choosing a city.