Second- and third-tier cities are expanding their offerings for groups
Todd Garofano, president of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, agrees that security is top of mind today. "We find that Saratoga is alluring to many board meetings of high-profile companies and other organizations because of how well our hotels, meeting venues, attractions, and amenities are situated," he says.
Downtown Saratoga brims with restaurants, cafes, and shops, and Connolly's groups walk from the City Center, the site of his meetings, to their hotels and other functions. "Saratoga is very attractive. There is a vibrant downtown with lots of activities to choose from," explains Connolly.
The affordability of second- and third-tier cities also makes them appealing to companies looking to play it safe with their meetings budgets. Not only are meeting facilities and accommodations more reasonable in most cases but tax rates are usually lower as well. For a recent meeting Connolly planned for 280, attendees could take in a polo match; go to the historic Saratoga Race Course, or visit the Saratoga Performing Arts Center -- all within walking distance of the host hotel. "Not having to hire ground transportation saved money from our budget and time from our agenda," says Connolly.