In 2013, Salt Lake City cracked Cvent’s list of top 50 U.S. cities for meetings. Cvent is the largest online event management and registration company and its ranking is based on booking activity, such as RFPs received and room nights booked.
“It’s exciting to be ranked among the top cities for meetings and events in the United States,” says Scott Beck, president and CEO of Visit Salt Lake, the Salt Lake metro area’s convention and visitors’ bureau.
Two of the major shows held in Salt Lake City that likely helped it crack Cvent’s list are the world’s largest outdoor gear shows: the Outdoor Retailer Summer and Winter Markets, which have been staged here since 1996. The 2014 Summer Market is set to take place Aug. 6-9 in the Salt Palace Convention Center and Aug. 5 at the Open Air Demo at Pineview Reservoir in Weber County. This year’s Summer Market is expected to be bigger than ever. Average attendance has grown 13 percent over the last four years while the number of exhibitors has also expanded significantly.
Since, 1996, when the Summer and Winter Markets moved to Salt Lake City, direct delegate spending by Outdoor Retailer attendees has totaled more than $468 million and generated approximately $43.6 million in city, county and state taxes, according to the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, which estimates the average Outdoor Retailer delegate spends $923 while attending the Summer or Winter Markets in Salt Lake City.
Outdoor Retailer (OR), which is produced by the Nielsen Expo Outdoor Group, is booked in Salt Lake City through the end of 2016. As the state’s largest convention event, keeping OR in Salt Lake City has been a huge priority. But it hasn’t been easy. With more and more exhibitors and attendees, the shows quickly out grew the available convention space. Hence, the Salt Palace has been expanded twice to host the shows.