What cities will be magnets for meetings and events in 2019? Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) has an inkling.

CWT Meetings & Events just unveiled its predictions for the top 10 North American cities in 2019. The rankings are based on proprietary and industry data in CWT’s 2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends report, to be published in late September 2018. Article update: CWT's future trends report is now available.

Following is CWT’s the forecast for 2019 (with 2018/17 positions in brackets):

  1. Las Vegas (2018: 10/2017: 10)
  2. New York City (2018: 2/2017: 1)
  3. Orlando (2018: 4/2017: 9)
  4. Boston
  5. San Antonio
  6. Dallas (2018: 3)
  7. Seattle (2018: 9)
  8. San Francisco (2018: 1/2017: 6)
  9. Chicago (2018: 8/2017: 4)
  10. Vancouver, British Columbia

Next year’s ranking sees three new entries: Boston (4), San Antonio (5) and Vancouver (10). Canada was last featured in the 2017 North American top 10 cities with Toronto, then in second place. Cities that have dropped out of next year’s list include Philadelphia (5 in 2018), Phoenix (6 in 2018), and Atlanta (7 in 2018).

CWT Analyzes the Meetings Marketplace

In the North America marketplace, cost per attendee per day is predicted to rise 1% in 2019, to an average of $234. Average 2019 group size is projected to increase to 88, up 14% from 2018.

The North America meetings market is likely to continue to be driven by robust economic growth in the U.S., according to CWT, with forecasts from the International Monetary Fund putting U.S. growth at 2.7 percent in 2019, a slight dip on 2018’s expected increase of 2.9 percent.

GDP growth in Canada is expected to come in at 2 percent in 2019.

[Related Content: Cvent Names Top Meetings Destinations for 2018]

According to CWT, lead times for events of 100-plus attendees, which require a ballroom and breakout spaces, are now being booked between four to six months in advance, while events for 400 to 500 delegates are being planned six to nine months ahead, and booking more than a year in advance is fast becoming the norm for major conferences and conventions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. pipeline for new hotels is strong, according to CWT, with an estimated 5,300 properties currently planned, adding more than 630,000 rooms across the country.

One major city seeing a hotel capacity squeeze is San Francisco, according to CWT, which said that will keep prices high there—particularly as the city is already the No. 1 meetings destination in the U.S.

With regard to meeting space, CWT pointed out the $1.5 billion expansion of the Javits Center in Manhattan, which will add 1.2 million square feet of exhibition and meeting space starting in 2021.

Meetings Today Destinations Content Director Marlene Goldman previously spoke with planners who shared their 5 Cities to Watch for Meetings and Events in 2018. See how that list stacks up against CWT's list!