Knowland: Secondary markets beat Top 25 in January meetings, events

Meetings and events in secondary markets outpaced the traditional Top 25 markets in January, according to the latest data from Knowland. Most notably, the highest growth Top 25 market, Nashville, was up 16.1 percent, while top growth secondary market city, Lexington, Ky., had a 76.4 percent uptick in meetings and events for the month. This exposes a trend that indicates meeting planners are sometimes opting for secondary destinations to reduce costs. This data is sourced from Knowland’s sales intelligence platform and designed to help hoteliers protect and grow their revenue base.

When comparing the top 25 and secondary markets for industry segment performance, both the top 25 market—Los Angeles—and secondary market—Columbus, Ohio—led in education segment events. Top 25 market Orlando, saw the most technology and healthcare meetings in January, with Austin, Texas, leading in secondary markets for those industry segments. The average space used for meetings in the top 25 markets was 3,426 square feet, while secondary markets were slightly less at 3,000 square feet. Average attendees were 124 in the Top 25, while secondary markets averaged 118 attendees.

Top 5 Markets

Nashville ranked highest in the Top 25 U.S. markets by year-over-year growth in event volume, hosting technology and healthcare. Below is additional insight into the top industry drivers for these markets.

  • Nashville (+16.1 percent): Technology, healthcare, national association, manufacturing, pharmaceutical/biotechnology.
  • Detroit (+10.4 percent): Education, financial/banking, manufacturing, healthcare, state association. 
  • New Orleans (+7.8 percent): National association, technology, healthcare, training/education, charity/non-profit/social services.
  • San Francisco-San Mateo (+7.3 percent): Pharmaceutical/biotechnology, financial/banking, technology, national association, healthcare.
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (+5.3 percent): National association, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, charity/non-profit/social services. 

While education and state associations were big in Lexington, Ky., the following five high-growth secondary markets and top industries by year-over-year growth in event volume were: 

  • Lexington, Ky. (+76.4 percent): Education
  • Syracuse, N.Y. (+34.6 percent): Social- sports
  • Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (+33.4 percent): State association
  • Oklahoma City, Okla. (+29.1 percent): Technology
  • Louisville, Ky. (+24.1 percent): National association