Business Travel

If you’re like most people the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Orlando are the attractions and nearby beaches that have helped make Central Florida the #1 tourist destination in the country. When thinking of Las Vegas, most immediately think of gambling and casinos, but there’s an entirely different industry that brings visitors to the regions en masse, and that’s the Meeting and Convention Industry.

Massive expansion projects abound in convention destinations as cities struggle to keep up with their competition and attract groups that might otherwise go somewhere else. 4th place New York City recently expanded its Jacob J Javits Convention Center to the tune of nearly $2 billion.

Why do cities pay so much attention and spend so freely when it comes to attracting conventions to their facilities? Group meeting visitors spend money. In 2008, Orlando meeting groups spent a collective $2.28 billion. Add to this the nearly $500 million spent by associations and exhibitors at the Orange County Convention Center which brings the total  to nearly $3 billion that was pumped into the local economy that year.  

Business travelers are a huge part of the Hotel industry for Orlando. 3.5 million business travelers who came to Orlando  for a convention or group meeting, in 2008, stayed overnight, and the average business visitor booked 3.2 nights of Hotel stay.

With the recent downturn in the economy, Orlando Hotels are offering incentives and meeting specials to lure planners to their facilities. Among the most popular group of hotels in the Orlando area. Rosen Hotels www.rosenhotels.com, offers a creative menu of enticements including a “virtual cocktail napkin contract” that allows meeting planners to propose their own rate for booking groups.

The top 10 host cities’ shares of the 200 largest U.S. trade shows in 2005, as reported by Tradeshow Week magazine:

  1. Las Vegas 44
  2. Orlando 26
  3. Chicago 20
  4. New York City 16
  5. Atlanta 11
  6. Anaheim 8
  7. New Orleans 7 and San Francisco 7
  8. Dallas 6
  9. Louisville 5