Biz types love San Francisco but not so much Houston ... Chicago aims higher
They're mad as hell. But they're still gonna take it.
ON24, Inc, a webcasting and virtual events firm out of San Francisco, this week announced the findings of its survey of 3,756 registrants for this year's VUE2011 the world's largest virtual events user conference. The survey revealed that an overwhelming 92% of executives think that business travel is failing to improve, with almost half saying it is getting worse or even much worse. Gee, and I thought newspaper reporters were grumpy.
When asked which cities they would choose to avoid for a convention or trade show if a substitute
virtual event were available, Houston topped the list, with almost half (49.3%) of the respondents preferring not to travel to the largest city in Texas and saying that they would instead prefer a virtual conference. For Los Angeles, the number who preferred the virtual conference to the real deal was 41.7 per cent, with Orlando coming in at 37.5, Miami at 33.3 and Chicago at 27.8.
The L.A. numbers surprise me a bit, although I suspect folks are simply leery of traffic and $5,000 Lakers tickets. The others make some sense, as a LOT of biz people would simply rather not travel anywhere if it means going through TSA pat-downs and sticking their butts into a flying tin can for five hours.
The ON24 folks weren't giving out all the results, but they told me in an email that San Francisco was the least disliked city for a conference.
Hotels fared no better, with a surprising 52.8% of executives concerned about the risk of bed bugs, along with dirty linens (44.8%) and noisy guests (42.3%). Responses about trade shows and conventions reflected the usual criticisms about boring presentations (60.7%) and getting behind at work (60.1%). However, an interesting 19.6% of respondents said that the so-called "booth babes" who often staff trade show exhibits are sexist relics.
Sixty one per cent of folks said they wanted a beach getaway, while 34 per cent cited a big city vacation and 28 per cent wanted outdoor adventure. Hey, try Los Angeles or Miami or Honolulu or Vancouver and you can get all three at once.
CHICAGO: SEARCHING SO LONG
The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau is opening overseas offices and starting a regional campaign to boost tourism.
Apparently folks are happy that they're hosting the G-8 (good luck, guys) and a NATO summit (ditto) this coming year and apparently hotel bookings are up.
The Windy City had 46.3 million visitors in 2007, but that number dropped - sharply - to 39.2 million in 2010.
U.S. government figures show Chicago was the tenth most visited city in the U.S. in 2010, with 1.1 million visitors (4.3 per cent of the U.S. total). New York led the way with a stunning 8.5 million visitors, 32.1 per cent of all international visitors.
UK visitors have taken a pass on Chicago of late, and the numbers in 2010 were down 22 per cent from the previous year. The Chicago Tribune quoted a visitor, Juliette Smith of Nottingham, England, as saying all she knew about Chicago prior to her recent arrival is that "it's the WIndy City and it's freezing and Al Capone lived here."
Yeah, that's probably about it for most European types. But Smith said she was loving her visit.
"There are lots of bright lights ... And your lake is, like, insane. It's half the size of my country. It's mental."