As the #1 most visited destination in the United States, Orlando has always been a hotspot for meetings and conventions. But the destination has upped its game with incredible new space, innovations and upgrades. Here are the top 10 reasons why now is the perfect time to plan a meeting or convention in Orlando:
Reason #1 – The accolades keep coming: Orlando was recently named the #1 meetings destination by Cvent for the fifth year in a row. It’s also been ranked #2 by the Tradeshow Top 250 (in 2018); tied with Chicago as the top destination choice for meeting planners in the 2017 DestinationMAP study and was winner of the Revenue Visionary Award, which acknowledges forward-thinking destinations. In addition, Visit Orlando was selected as the CVB of the Year for U.S. Destinations for 2017 by ConferenceDirect and as a 2018 Stella Award Winner for Best CVB/DMO in the Southeast.
Reason #2 – The second largest convention center in the country is expanding—again! The Orange County Convention Center is in the midst of a $605 million campus improvement plan that will bring significant expansion, including new meeting and exhibit space, to the North and South concourses, further increasing the center’s seven million square feet of total function space. The bottom line: The center will be able to host bigger meetings with more contiguous space, and groups will have more flexibility in selecting desired dates.
Reason #4 – 150+ meeting hotels and growing. Orlando’s hotel inventory has been expanding every year, with more than 122,000 rooms at over 450 hotels—7,300 of which are within a one-mile radius of the convention center. By the end of 2019, that number will reach 128,600. There are new properties at every price point, offering more options for groups of any size and budget.
Reason #5 – Incredible Dining. Selected as the “Best Foodie City” by Wallethub, Orlando’s culinary scene continues to expand with more than a dozen new dining establishing joining the scene within the past few years. The city offers five popular dining and entertainment complexes that surround the convention center, offering 200+ dining and entertainment complexes including:
- Pointe Orlando, featuring 19 restaurants and a range of exciting entertainment, including local live music
- ICON Park, Orlando’s newest dining and entertainment complex, offering more than 12 restaurants and four family-friendly attractions anchored by the 400-foot Wheel at ICON Park.
- Disney Springs, which continues to expand with crowd-pleasing dining and entertainment venues.
- Restaurant Row, an upscale spot just a mile from the convention center with more than 30 top-flight restaurants ideal for intimate dinners or dine-arounds
- Universal CityWalk, which features lively, popular spots like Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Voodoo Donuts
Reason #6 – Did someone say experiential meetings? As immersive experiences become a meetings staple, planners can count on Orlando’s meetings spots, both large and small, to create customized activities to enhance any meeting. A few examples: At Universal Orlando Resort, meetings can be kicked off with the help of a larger-than-life character from The Transformers movie; At SeaWorld Orlando, groups can go behind the scenes and watch veterinarians nurse rescued sea cows back to health.
Reason #7 – Electric Entertainment. Orlando delivers one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences in both its large-scale theme parks and smaller venues. In all, it offers more than 100 unique venues and experiences, including Walt Disney World Resort (four parks), Universal Orlando Resort (three parks) and SeaWorld Orlando.
Reason #8 – Game On! Groups wanting to get a taste of the area’s sports and cultural scenes have plenty of entertainment options from which to choose. Orlando is home to three professional major-league teams: Orlando Magic (NBA), Orlando City Lions (MLS) and the Orlando Pride (NWSL), as well as the Solar Bears hockey team. And, the city is the new home to the USTA National Campus and NFL Pro Bowl. In addition, there are more than 25 museums and performing arts centers, including the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, which offer private venues for groups in downtown Orlando.
Reason #9 – It’s All Business. Here’s a fun fact: Orlando has been designated among the top 10 large “American Cities for the Future” by fDI Magazine based on the growth of population, employment, wages, economic outpoint, and home price growth. With all this activity going on, convention planners will find lots of keynote speaker and collaborative opportunities within the area’s businesses, entrepreneurs and think tanks.
Reason #10 – A world class partner. Meeting planners who hold events in Orlando have exclusive access to the dedicated Destination Services Team of Visit Orlando. All team members are Certified Meeting Professionals who understand planners needs and can leverage their destination expertise to provide an unparalleled experience. And no meeting is too small or too big to get personalized attention from our professionals, who become an extension of a client’s team. In short, we’ve got your back.