10 Meeting Destinations Where Your Event Budget Is Worth More

If you choose your destination wisely, hosting an event out of town doesn’t have to be costly. Here are 10 cities around the world where your budget will go further.

Planning and executing destination events can be exciting for the event planner and the attendee but it can also drain resources. If local prices are too high your attendees won’t be happy about the price difference from home.

Taking the median salary from recent research, combined with the median home value it can help to illustrate the cost of living in different cities. This ratio is a great indicator for those looking to make their event budget go further and can help determine where it is best to plan your event. It can open up new and unusual destination options too, rather than just sticking to tried and tested locations. Here are some of the best cities to consider.

10 Meeting Destinations Where Your Event Budget Is Worth More

United States

  1. Houston, Texas

Median Salary: $52,000
Median Home Value: $157,900

Venue Ideas

Rice Stadium – Obviously suitable for large sporting events with its 47,000 seats, many don’t realise it also has meeting and event capabilities in-house too.

The St. Regis Houston – In an exclusive location with celebrity and important guests frequenting it, they have event space for up to 500 attendees and over 4,500 sq. ft. of event space in the main ballroom. They also have several smaller meeting or function rooms.

Hobby Centre For Performing Arts – With downtown skyline views in the theatre district of Houston it has event capacity and a spacious Grand Lobby. The unique “star-lit” Sarofim Hall has fiber optic lights, creating a starry night effect on the domed ceiling, and can seat up to 2,650.

Activities For Attendees:

  • Houston Zoo
  • Museum Of Fine Arts (MFAH)
  • Culinary Tours
  • The Cockrell Butterfly Centre – in the Houston Museum of Natural Science (which also has its own rainforest conservatory).
  • James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace – An LED light show set to musical pieces in this acoustically specific space. Free admission.
  1. Louisville, Kentucky

Median Salary: $40,000
Median Home Value: $131,000

Venue Ideas

The Brown Hotel – AAA rated four diamond that comes with complimentary WiFi and shuttle service for guests. Accommodation and catering options for up to 600 attendees in their 4,337 sq. ft. event space, as well as meeting and breakout facilities.

Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Centre – A favourite wedding venue that can seat up to 350 guests and 800 for a standing reception. It also has 4 smaller event rooms for something more intimate.

Whitehall – A particular favourite for outdoor events due to its landscaping, gardens and greenery. It has large spaces and catering facilities outdoors, although much smaller capacity inside.

Activities For Attendees

  • Louisville Mega Cavern – A man made underground cavern trail that was created as civil defence to survive nuclear war. It provides the only underground zip tour and an intriguing activity for guests.
  • Henry’s Ark – A free entry, wildlife sanctuary, which is privately owned (although donations are always welcomed and encouraged). This is home to some exotic animals that allow personal encounters.
  1. Detroit, Michigan

Median Salary: $45,000
Median Home Value: $114,000

Venue Ideas

Renaissance Conference Centre –A smaller seating capacity at around 250-300 attendees in the exhibit hall but around 20,000 sq. ft. of exhibition and trade show space and 9 ft. high ceilings. It also has free WiFi and AV and lighting options. They also offer smaller function rooms and in-house catering services.  

Calihan Hall – A large and adaptive venue that can accommodate up to 8,000 attendees in the arena and has smaller separate meeting and function rooms for private hire as well. Home of the University of Detroit Mercy Titans basketball team.

MGM Grand Detroit – Accommodation, meeting and board rooms as well as up to 14,000 sq. ft. of event space that is suitable for up to 1,200 attendees.

Activities For Attendees

  • Detroit Riverfront – providing unique walking tours, outdoor yoga and fitness classes, bike and running races and free musical performances.
  • Show Me Detroit Tours – Luxury 2 hour van tours (up to 6 per van) perfect for corporate retreats and allowing for more specificity and planning.
  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Detroit Science Centre – including IMAX, planetarium and interactive exhibits.
  1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Median Salary: $43,000
Median Home Value: $124,500

Venue Ideas

Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel – 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a ballroom capacity of 3,500 guests, with complimentary WiFi throughout. Meeting, boardrooms and conference rooms are also available for up to 300 guests as well as easy block room booking.

Pittsburgh Marriott City Centre – 19 different function rooms to choose from and a ballroom size of 8,000 sq. ft. to cater up to 950 guests. AV and tech capabilities and assistance along with the business centre and smaller meeting rooms for up to 16 attendees.

Activities For Attendees

  • PNC Park – Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, along with tours of the grounds and stadium.
  • Canton Avenue – The steepest street in the US with frequent challenges for cyclists, runners and walkers, which could make for interesting team building exercises.
  • Robot Hall of Fame
  • Andy Warhol Museum
  1. Tampa, Florida

Median Salary: $40,000
Median Home Value: $149,500

Venue Ideas

Saddlebrook – Tampa Bay – A resort for spa getaways or golf and tennis retreats with corporate and conferencing capabilities in their 95,000 sq. ft. of adaptable event space and full catering. They also offer team building courses specifically aimed at corporate events and have a business centre and airport shuttle.

Sheraton Tampa East Hotel – Capacity for up to 700 attendees and over 5,000 sq. ft. of meeting space with board and breakout rooms for smaller events.

Tampa Convention Centre – for bigger needs the convention centre includes a waterfront bar, 200,000 sq. ft. exhibition hall and a 36,000 sq. ft. ballroom as well as restaurants and 36 smaller breakout and boardrooms.

Activities For Attendees

  • Busch Gardens Tampa – A famous amusement park that also includes cafes, bars, restaurants and shopping on-site.
  • Museum of Science & Industry – interactive experiences, planetarium, drone zone, 3D printing exhibition, IMAX and butterfly garden.
  • Tampa Riverwalk – Including a historical monument trail and aquarium
  • Hardrock Casino and Spa
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Worldwide

The following worldwide cities have a lower cost of living which compared to the median salary (that has been adjusted to USD to make comparison easier) means they are completely affordable on a budget.

  1. Tartu, Estonia

Median Salary: $18,000

Venue Ideas

Eesti Rahva Muuseum (ERM) – The Estonian National Museum has around 6,100 sq. ft. of exhibition space and is one of the newly renovated and cutting edge venues. They display a range of cultural and historical artefacts to compliment the event along with 9 function rooms, catering options, restaurant and café for up to 250 guests.

Dorpat Conference Centre – With a capacity of 1,100 attendees and adjustable event spaces to accommodate a variety of event types it is suitable if you are looking for something larger.

There are also a variety of lecture theatres in the town centre that are rentable and double as conference venues of varying sizes.

Activities For Attendees

  • Walking Tours – most sights are within walking distance in this city.
  • Jaani Cultural Quarter
  • St. John’s Church – 1,000 terracotta statues and also doubles as a concert venue.
  • Arts and Crafts workshops
  • Bars and Cafes
  • River excursions and leisure activities.  
  1. Porto, Portugal

Median Salary: $26,000

Venue Ideas

Alfandega Porto Congress Centre – with private indoor and outdoor event spaces it also boasts 24 function rooms and has 50,000 sq. mtrs. of flexible space. They have built in translation booths for congresses, private parking and staging facilities.

AC Hotel Porto – Close to local amenities and equipped with a business and fitness centre, free WiFi and event staff assistance. There are plenty of meeting and breakout rooms for smaller events up to 100 attendees.

Taylor’s Port Wine Lodges – The lodge has 6 function rooms and can accommodate up to 500 attendees and can combine wine tasting and formal dinner into your event at the wine tours venue while adding a new dynamic with riverside views.

Activities For Attendees

  • Wine Tours
  • Church of St. Francis – Sights and museum
  • The Riverfront Square (Praca de Ribeira)
  • Soares dos Reis National Museum
  • “Music House”- Concert venue with extensive musical program
  • Transport on the old tram systems
  1. Thessaloniki, Greece

Median Salary: $21,000

Venue Ideas

Royal Hotel – With a pool, close to touristic suburbs as well as the sea this is a useful venue with 2 event spaces that can accommodate up to 300 attendees. They also offer onsite catering and have several smaller business rooms.

Thessaloniki Convention Centre – With several grand ballrooms and indoor spaces accommodating up to 1,600 guests (increasing to 3,000 if the outdoor space is used) this is a great option for larger conferences or exhibitions. They also offer smaller meeting rooms and a VIP lounge that would suit up to 60 guests for more sophisticated functions.

Science and Technology Museum – This interesting option offers something unique and can allow you to host an event in the planetarium, convention hall or cosmo theatre for up to 300 guests. They can also accommodate smaller events of up to 50 attendees in the library and allows access to the exhibits for certain functions.

Activities For Attendees

  • Archaeological Museum
  • Hiking Trails Near Mount Olympus – The highest mountain in Greece, featured in Greek mythology.
  • Thriving food and nightlife
  • The White Tower
  • Upper Town – visit the historic raised town that has ample architecture and fountains to look at.
  1. Munich, Germany

Median Salary: $49,000

Venue Ideas

Hilton Munich Airport –  Perfect as an airport meeting venue with several business and breakout rooms available for hire as well as being able to cater to larger events with 4,000 sq. mtrs. of flexible event space. There are 30 conference rooms which can accommodate up to 500 attendees.

Infinity Hotel & Conference Centre – providing accommodation options as well as large event space this is a great choice for bigger events of up to 2,700 attendees. It has 43 meeting and function rooms.

ICM – Internationales Congress Center Munchen – For larger events the meeting and conference space suits up to 6,000 attendees and can be flexible to suit the needs of various event types including exhibitions and congresses. They also have smaller meeting and boardrooms to cater effectively to smaller events.

Activities For Attendees

  • Oktoberfest – Annual festival in September popular with attendees from around the globe, which lasts for 16 days.
  • BMW Welt
  • Deustches Museum – Science and Technology Museum
  • Modern Picture Gallery
  • Olympiapark Munchen – Constructed to host the 1972 Summer Olympic Games and still a large recreational area.
  1. London, England

Although the cost of living isn’t low, with the current economic climate and exchange rate your event budget will go further than ever before, so this is a very exciting proposition now and always a popular destination.

Median Salary: $43,000

Venue Ideas

QEII Conference Centre – This Westminster venue hosts international and domestic events throughout the year and can cater for up to 2,500 in it’s high tech facilities. From corporate events to exhibitions and conventions there are 32 event spaces that are flexible and can be combined or separated for diverse spacing options.

BMA House – Suitable for conferences for up to 320 attendees with smaller meeting and board room capabilities too. A particular highlight is the courtyard and gardens.

Tower Of London – This London landmark that has been the home of ceremonies and is a world heritage site due to its extensive history also houses event spaces and is available for hire. Meeting room spaces up to 16 attendees are available or conferences up to 150 guests in The New Armouries, dining is available in The White Tower for 80 guests or 250 reception style while the prestigious Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is available for up to 80 attendees.

Activities For Attendees

  • London Eye
  • Tower of London
  • Southbank Centre
  • Royal Festival Hall
  • The London Dungeon
  • BFI IMAX
  • National Theatre
  • Sealife Aquarium
  • The Shard

In Conclusion

It’s fundamentally about using your event budget wisely and with these destinations you can get more bang for your buck. These cities are definitely worth a look as they can stretch out your budget and allow you to improve your event experience by visiting a previously unconsidered location.

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Julius Solaris
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