by Matt Alderton | November 13, 2016
Of all the ingredients that go into hosting a successful conference, among the most important, most meeting planners agree, is the destination. To find out which ones are the best, SmartAsset analyzed 102 of the largest U.S. cities according to nine criteria, including the availability of hotels, hotel room rates, the average cost of a restaurant meal, and proximity to a major airport. The resulting top 10 are:

10. Las Vegas, NV

Says SmartAsset: "Las Vegas has the highest concentration of dining and entertainment establishments among the top 10 cities in our study."

9. Charlotte, NC

Says SmartAsset: "There are 77 mid-sized hotels in the city, meaning that it has the fourth-highest number of hotels in the top 10 with 20-250 employees."

7. Albuquerque, NM (Tie)

Says SmartAsset: "A hotel room costs just $91 per night (on average). That's the lowest hotel room rate among the top 10 cities and the third-lowest rate in our entire study."

7. Orlando, FL (Tie)

Says SmartAsset: "What makes Orlando the perfect place for ... events? For one thing, it has the second highest number of hotels with more than 250 employees."

6. Columbus, OH

Says SmartAsset: "According to the Census Bureau, Columbus has a higher concentration of dining and entertainment establishments than San Diego or Orlando."

5. Irving, TX

Says SmartAsset: "As one of the safest cities on our list, conference attendees should feel comfortable traveling to the area. What's more, it's not an expensive place to visit."

4. Austin, TX

Says SmartAsset: "Compared to other major cities, Austin's cost of living isn't nearly as high. Plus, the state of Texas doesn't collect any income taxes."

3. San Diego, CA

Says SmartAsset: "Even if there are a lot of events taking place when you're in town, you shouldn't have much trouble finding a place to stay. There are 255 hotels in San Diego and the average cost of a single night at a hotel is $147."

2. El Paso, TX

Says SmartAsset: "El Paso is another affordable place for conference-goers. A single night at a hotel costs just $92, on average."

1. San Antonio, TX

Says SmartAsset: "San Antonio has more hotels than most of the cities in our study. It also has a number of large venues like the Alamodome (pictured above), a facility that seats more than 65,000 people."

Source: SmartAsset