Big cities are often the obvious choice for corporate conferences for their amenities, accessibility, and acclaim. But as the saying goes, bigger isn’t always better. Metropolitan cities can be overly busy and very expensive, which can affect productivity and bottom lines. Many large conferences and events previously hosted in big urban centers have moved to secondary markets in mid-sized cities. That’s not without reason; choosing a mid-sized city over a large municipality comes with many advantages, and companies across the country are catching on.
Budgets are a key element of corporate travel and events. Companies can potentially significantly save in expenses by hosting conferences and events in mid-sized cities. Compared to bigger metropolitan areas, mid-sized cities offer great value for companies regarding rentals, accommodations, dining, and transportation.
Reduce Travel Fatigue
Companies want their employees to be focused and engaged at events. Travel plans have an impact on stress and fatigue levels. Mid-sized cities can reduce these negative effects since they tend to have smaller airports with shorter wait times as well as fewer chances to get bogged down in traffic.
Contrary to popular belief, companies don’t have to go to big cities to book world-class event spaces or convention centers. Many mid-sized cities have innovative event spaces that suit the technical specifications and physical space required to host a successful conference. Booking events in mid-sized cities is also generally easier than booking in large urban areas since there is more availability and fewer risks of scheduling conflicts.
Mid-Sized Destinations for Corporate Conferences
Located in the heart of the Midwest along the scenic shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a city on the rise. It has committed millions of dollars toward new construction, including hotel conversions, transit upgrades, and the new Baird Center. Previously known as the Wisconsin Center, the new 1.3 million-square-foot space will open in May 2024. Aside from its new state-of-the-art facilities, Milwaukee also has a safe, walkable downtown corridor, affordable dining and entertainment options, and fantastic Midwest hospitality.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Between the beautiful scenery, great weather, and cultural diversity, Albuquerque is becoming a prime corporate event destination. Like Milwaukee, Albuquerque is currently undergoing a resurgence. Having recently invested more than $300 million in hospitality improvements, the city is dedicated to providing corporate travelers with an exceptional experience. The Albuquerque Convention Center, located right in the middle of downtown, features indoor and outdoor facilities to accommodate any event. Science and technology companies in particular might be drawn to Albuquerque since it’s become quite a technological hub.
Fort Myers, Florida
Nestled along the Caloosahatchee River is Fort Myers, one of Southwest Florida’s growing corporate retreat cities. The gorgeous weather alone is enough to entice companies to head to the city. The abundance of outdoor activities, including boating, golfing, and nature retreats, is a nice bonus. For events, the Harborside Event Center or the Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops make excellent options.
Raleigh, North Carolina
As part of the Research Triangle, Raleigh, North Carolina is known for its concentration of tech companies, universities, and research institutions. The city is a hub for innovation, making it a fantastic place to host corporate events. In particular, the Raleigh Convention Center is a modern, flexible space for conferences. The Center is also located in the heart of downtown near hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and green spaces. Safety and hospitality are highly revered in Raleigh, so nothing short of exceptional service and security can be expected.
Seated along the Mississippi River, Minneapolis is home to 15 Fortune 500 companies. The city is growing its tech sector, making it a great option for corporate conferences focused on technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Companies looking for an event space should look into the Minneapolis Convention Center downtown. Nearby, there are several efficient public transportation options and a thriving culinary scene.