Editor’s Note: Travmar, which produces intelligence for event planners, is based in Minnesota, but the seeds for the company were planted in the Northeast.
John Horchner left Manhattan and the Hearst Corp. for Providence, Rhode Island, and his startup, The New England Meeting Planning Guide. Similar regional sourcebooks were created for meeting planners around the U.S., and Travmar was born.
In the mid-1990s, Travmar made its mark in the digital world with MeetingSource.com, the first meeting and convention website in the country. ResponseRewards.com and WeddingSource.com followed soon afterward. The company relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota.
This year—quite appropriately given the global you-know-what—Travmar launched DigMeetings.com to help clients move to digital events using WordPress and Zoom teleconferencing. But the company still kept a keen watch over brick-and-mortar conference and convention centers across the nation.
For Travmar’s list of the “Top 25 Convention Cities For 2020,” walkability, affordability, safety, exciting tourism options and city assets were all considered.
Looking at the 166 cities ranked nationwide, judges noted that smaller, so-called “second-tier” cities gained ground this year because of more attractive hotel rates, something they note that may linger due to COVID-19 concerns.
For example, affordable room rates and above-average scores in most other areas like safety propelled Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Boise, Idaho; and Tampa, Florida. Pittsburgh’s city parks also helped it excel, as did St. Paul, Minnesota’s, Madison, Wisconsin’s and Portland, Oregon’s, according to Travmar, whose top convention cities of 2020 follow.
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
Las Vegas, Nevada
Miami Beach, Florida
Grand Rapids, Michigan
St. Paul, Minnesota
In ranking U.S. convention centers, Travmar noted that many are positioning themselves to be better than ever once we “return to normal.”
Hotel room affordability, accessibility as well as what the destination has to offer in the way of tourism infrastructure were factors in the rankings of the best of the best of 2020 that follow.
Javits Convention Center
New York, New York
Washington State Convention Center
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Tampa Convention Center
Don’t see your city or favorite convention center? Find the full lists at Travmar.com.