MCLEAN, VA—Which U.S. hotels are tops for meetings and events? There’s a list for that. Cvent, a cloud-based enterprise event management company, compiled its “2018 Top Hotels” list by evaluating hotel properties that generated business through the Cvent Supplier Network, which features more than 255,000 hotels, resorts and special event venues.
Among the highlights:
- Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center ranked number one for the second year in a row.
- Two new properties are in this year’s top 10: Hilton Anatole in Dallas (fifth, up seven spots from 2017), and The Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta (tenth, up 23 spots from 2017).
- Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt (in order) are the top three hotel chains represented in the Top 100 list.
- Newcomers to the U.S. Top 100 list include The InterContinental Miami; Fairmont Austin; New York Hilton Midtown; The Broadmoor; and The Phoenician.
“There are a number of factors that draw companies and meeting attendees to a hotel, including flexible meeting, convention, exhibit and pre-function space; quality service, guestrooms and amenities; and, of course, let’s not forget about location and cost,” said Chris McAndrews, VP of hospitality marketing for Cvent’s Hospitality Cloud. “Combined, these features should provide event attendees with a premier experience, which ultimately leads to a more memorable event—which is what will help ensure attendees come back year after year.”
The Gaylord Opryland earned top billing on Cvent’s list for a second year in a row. In terms of facilities and amenities, the property has 750,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space; a variety of on-site restaurants and shops; and Marriott’s Meeting Services App, which helps streamline communication. “The hotel’s walkable access to the Grand Ole Opry and proximity to downtown Nashville is an additional draw for meeting planners and attendees,” said McAndrews.
To determine the sixth annual top hotels ranking, the team at Cvent evaluated hotel properties that are featured on the Cvent Supplier Network, through which more than $14.7 billion and more than 40 million rooms were sourced in 2017.
“Hotel activities were tracked from January through December 2017, and vetted using a quality set of group business criteria consisting of total requests for proposals (RFPs), awarded RFPs, total group room nights, awarded room nights, major metropolitan area market share, conversion rate and the hotel’s unique profile visits in the Cvent Supplier Network,” said McAndrews. “Through this process and criteria, which remains consistent year over year, we were able to develop this year’s premier list of top hotels across the U.S. and abroad.”
What differentiates these top 10 hotels from their competitors? In a word: Responsiveness. Across all of Cvent’s lists, the top 10 hotels in each region have a more than 97% response rate to their requests for proposals (RFPs), while the average across the Cvent Supplier Network is 84%, noted McAndrews.
Cvent is also tracking the trends occurring at hotels with meetings facilities. Among them are sustainability, experiential meetings, memorable F&B and a focus on working with destination management companies. McAndrews outlined the details of each trend:
Waste and environmental impact in general has come to the forefront for the meetings and events industry. From paperless planning options and environmentally friendly meetings supplies to bottled water alternatives and sustainable meal options, organizers and venues are working to enhance their sustainability practices and offerings.
Hotels are upping the experience ante. Room design and setup are no longer standard as hotels look to offer solutions for event planners looking for a more creative, memorable event without having to book multiple venues.
Traditional chafers and large format serving dishes are out, and curated, experiential food offerings are in. Hotels are offering more flexible and customized menu offerings than ever before to accommodate price, dietary needs, current trends and to alleviate extra food waste. Hotels are also looking at unique ways to present food to ensure diners are fully engaged in the dining experience and to offer a more restaurant-style experience rather than a typical banquet one.
Destination Management Companies
Hotels are recognizing the importance of their local destination management companies and are working with them more closely to create meeting and event options that reflect the local culture and region, which attracts organizers looking to put on a distinctive event.