by Elise Schoening | March 30, 2020

Giant events like the Consumer Electronics Show, which draws 180,000 attendees, are limited to cities with ample convention space. But other needs are important too, including plenty of hotel rooms nearby, affordable rates, safe surroundings and a convenient airport.

  
To aid in the selection process for events of this magnitude, Northstar Meetings Group created the industry's first Convention Cities Index, an extensive research project and weighted ranking system that identifies those destinations that are ideally suited for the world's largest events. 

The inaugural CCi draws on an in-depth methodology, evaluating destinations in five categories: the amount of indoor exhibit space at the city's largest convention center, number of hotel rooms within 15 minutes' walking distance, average cost of a hotel room, travel time (without traffic) from the nearest international airport to the convention center, and the city's level of risk for travelers. 

"This first-of-a-kind resource will be invaluable to planners who normally would have to manually research and put together comparative destination analyses for their events and ultimately justify selecting a destination," says Kevin Iwamoto, chief strategy officer of Bizly, an events management platform. "It also removes bias barriers that sometimes confront planners when their managers or stakeholders question their destination decisions."

The size of the city's largest convention center was the benchmark for consideration. The minimum was set at 1 million square feet of exhibit space for global venues and 500,000 square feet in the United States. Total exhibit space was based on the most recent figures from the facilities themselves or their local convention and visitor bureaus.

To determine other key factors:

In some destinations, more than one convention center met the size criteria; their rankings were based on total exhibit space and nearby hotel rooms, and the average travel time from all qualifying facilities to the nearest international airport.

The Convention Cities Index calls attention to great places for large conventions based on the specific criteria outlined above. Following are highlights about the cities that ranked highest on the CCi.

Read the list at NorthstarMeetingsGroup.com.

Or download the full CCi report here.