by Leo Jakobson | October 24, 2018
Las Vegas and Paris were the top meeting and incentive destinations in 2018, according to Global DMC Partners, which covers 500 destinations in the U.S. and internationally. 

The company's 2018 Global Destination Index also identified 10 up-and-coming destinations that are looking hot for 2019, led by Costa Rica.

Top 10 North American Cities for 2018
1. Las Vegas
2. Orlando
3. Chicago
4. Miami
5. New York
6. San Francisco
7. San Diego
8. Washington, D.C.
9. Los Angeles
10. New Orleans

Top 10 International Cities for 2018
1. Paris
2. Amsterdam
3. Munich
4. Stockholm
5. Vienna
6. London
7. Barcelona
8. Berlin
9. Prague
10. Rome

"While we want to highlight the top 20 North American and International cities -- which are mostly comprised of top markets that are constantly in demand -- there are also many secondary destinations that didn't make our list, but that fall within the top 10 percent, said Catherine Chaulet, president of Global DMC Partners. "Destinations in Asia, like Singapore and Hong Kong, and in the United States, such as Nashville, Seattle, and Austin, were also in high demand for meetings and incentives occurring in 2018."

On the incentive front, one of the most interesting trends Chaulet sees is the growing number of programs in which non-sales attendees make up at least some of the participants. 

"Bringing non-sales participants on incentive trips is more and more the case," she says. "A lot of incentives are about employee retention, not linked to revenue or sales. Hiring and retaining staff is very difficult. That's the case in about one-third -- and growing -- of the incentives we do."

While adding free time to programs in place of scheduled activities has also been a trend for several years, ensuring that there is plenty of networking time included in programs, particularly those aimed at clients, is a growing priority, she says. 

"They need to keep clients networking," Chaulet says. "They need activities and forums that will keep people engaged. They spend so much money, they don't want to lose client time."