Bargain Sites; why popular? Where the contracting parties are engaged in business. According to Tradeshow, from the bright lights of Vegas to the Windy City, these five locations bring new words to the words “business as usual” by hosting the most deals nationwide.
While the catchy tagline “What happens in Vegas…” is probably being said somewhere right now, the city’s best travelers are successfully getting conference writers to remember something else: “Vegas means business .” The average visitor knows that surrounding the splendor of the world-famous Strip lies more than 10.5 million square feet of exhibition space, much of it state-of-the-art.
The mega-resorts of Las Vegas offer a one-stop, all-under-one-roof environment pairing the excitement of the city’s magnificent tourist experience with top-notch meeting venues and services. The result is a combination few skillful meeting planners can match – the best of both work and play.
During the day, attendees enjoy the comfort of high-tech platforms that are filled with touch screens, pre-wired equipment for audio / visual, as well as the attention of dedicated staff on site. In the evenings, restaurants host celebrity chefs ( Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, and Bobby Flay, to name a few). Magical shows (from the Broadway smash Jersey Boys to the rollicking fun of Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil) are steps away and available for group bookings.
Add to that the ease of the jam-packed 4.2 kilometers (buses, trolleys, remains, shuttles, monorails, and even scooter tours bow) along with the large international airport, just three kilometers away. It’s no wonder the organizers are saying, “Viva Las Vegas.”
Chicago is a good CEO town home to more than 400 corporate headquarters. The thriving business city also boasts the nation’s largest convention center, McCormick Place (about 2,600,000 square feet of exhibition space), which welcomes almost a third of the city’s 11 million customers annually.
With a walkable downtown that encourages exploration, Chicago is packed with notable neighborhoods featuring ethnic restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shopping to take advantage of during breaks or after a long day on the regular floor.
Big draws are, of course, Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs) and the United Center (Chicago Bulls); Lincoln Park Zoo, an unrestrained animal attraction; and Navy Pier, a carnival-like outdoor entertainment experience (held Ferris Wheel, carousel, and funhouse) that can be rented for a memorable shopping experience.
Proximity to O’Hare International Airport, a central aviation hub and the second-largest airport in the world, ensures easy access for travelers from both coasts. Greyhound and the train station also offer service.
The city’s tourism desk is “Orlando makes me smile,” but for more exhibitors, Orlando planning is just good business sense. Boasting the second largest fairgrounds in the nation at 2.1 million square feet, Orlando also offers plenty of value lodging options.
Hotel and convention operators have been inspired to be as creative in serving their customers as their imaginative neighbors – Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. From green and medical meetings (Orlando is home to more than 150 biotech and biotech companies) to high-level corporate and government meetings, planners can find just about any area to suit their needs.
Throughout the city, there are incredible restaurants (Paris Bistro, Four Rivers Smokehouse), thriving musical entertainment (House of Blues), live sports action (Orlando Magic), and an impressive 50 million square feet of retail. A must-see is The Florida Mall, with more than 260 stores.
Getting it is easy, with more than 40 airlines flying out of the airport through Orlando International Airport. Public transportation is limited to passenger space and bus services, so taxis are usually preferred.
New York City
As the song goes, “there’s nothing you can’t do” in New York, and organizers have been funding this for years. Serving as the nation’s financial, retail, cultural, media, dining, and entertainment mecca, approximately 47 million visitors line the sidewalk each year.
There is plenty of activities and venues that regular goers can enjoy. Answer Broadway’s call with a group tour of Times Square, see world-renowned exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, cheer on the New York Yankees (or Mets, Knicks, or Rangers), or chow down on the city’s world-famous bagels, pizza or cheesecake at an outdoor event hosted at one of the beautiful garden, park or landmarks. The Javits Convention Center is the city’s premier for the traditionalist, providing more than 814,000 square feet.
When it comes to getting around, do what more than 50% of locals do. From mass transit (New York City Subway System) and rail (Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station) to bus (Port Authority) and water service (Staten Island Ferry), the Big Apple has public transportation down to a science. Three major airports, including JFK, make NYC a top international destination.
One of the happiest places on earth is also one of the busiest regarding meetings. Anaheim is also known as the home of Disneyland but also hosts significant shows within the convention center, one of the largest on the West Coast at 1.14 million square feet.
Outside of the endless cruises Disney offers, regular guests can also hit the links at a nearby golf course; test their balance in Anaheim Ice, a public rink; or stroll through the Anaheim GardenWalk, an impressive array of shopping, dining, and entertainment, billed as a “hotspot for fashion, dining and entertainment” (including bowling and the latest cinema).
Meeting-goers can ditch the car thanks to the regular bus, taxi, train station, and Metrolink services. Affordable transportation is available through ART, the Anaheim Resort Transit system that shuttles guests between the Anaheim Convention Center and Disneyland, and tourism benefits. One day pass for adults costs only four dollars.
Four airports are nearby, with John Wayne Airport providing the shortest expressways.