America’s Best Small Cities Unveiled

Resonance Consultancy, the leading advisors in tourism, real estate and economic development for countries, cities and communities, is pleased to reveal America’s Best Small Cities for 2018.

America’s Best Small City in 2018 is Honolulu, whose domination of our six categories and 28 subcategories—from Parks and Outdoor Attractions to TripAdvisor Reviews—made it America’s best place with a population of less than one million.

Fifty winning small cities were unveiled at a June 5 reception at New York University as part of the City Nation Place Americas forum, an annual conference for destination branding, economic development and tourism marketing that’s co-produced by Resonance.

(America’s Best Large Cities, the Resonance ranking of metros with populations of more than 1 million, was also unveiled and can be referenced here.)

The large and small city rankings, gathered into the America’s Best Cities Report, is one of the most comprehensive American city rankings ever attempted. It was developed to quantify and benchmark the relative quality of place, reputation and competitive identity for U.S. principal cities with metropolitan populations of 200,000 to 1 million.

“For more than a decade, Resonance has created place-branding strategies, tourism and economic development plans and trend reports for city, tourism and economic development organizations,” says Resonance President and CEO Chris Fair. “We do this to empower cities with new tools and perspectives on the key factors that shape a city’s competitive identity, community well-being, and future prosperity.”

Fair says his firm has come to understand that traditional indicators for economic, social and livability factors used in most rankings don’t reveal the whole story for cities and their tourism and economic development agencies. Why? Because it’s the relative vibrancy and experiential quality of cities that increasingly determine where talent, tourism and investment flow.

As a result, the Resonance Consultancy Best Cities rankings analyze and compare 28 factors in six key categories: a combination of core statistics measure that traditional economic, social and livability factors, as well as user-generated ratings and reviews to benchmark the experiential qualities of each city. The six categories are:

Place
The perceived quality of a city’s natural and built environments, including the subcategories of Air Quality, Weather, Crime Rate, Neighborhoods & Landmarks, Parks & Outdoor Activities, and Commute Time To Work.

Product
A city’s key institutions, attractions and infrastructure, including the subcategories of University Rankings, Airport Connectivity, Convention Center Size, Entertainment, Museums, Sports Teams, and Housing Affordability.

Programming
The arts, culture, entertainment and culinary scene in a city, including the subcategories of Shopping, Culture, Culinary, and Nightlife.

People
The immigration rate and diversity of a city, including the subcategories of Education, Foreign-born Residents, and Languages Spoken at Home.

Prosperity
A city’s employment, GDP per capita and corporate head offices, including the subcategories of Unemployment, Household Income, and Fortune 500 Companies.

Promotion
The quantity of stories, references and recommendations shared online about a city, including the subcategories of Google Search Results, Google Trends, Facebook Check-ins, Instagram Hashtags and TripAdvisor Reviews.

An average of a city’s rankings in each of these categories is used to determine the overall Best Small Cities in America, which are:

SMALL CITIES (POP. UNDER 1 MILLION)

  1. Honolulu
  2. Omaha
  3. Albuquerque
  4. Charleston
  5. El Paso
  6. Reno
  7. Tulsa
  8. Madison
  9. Myrtle Beach
  10. Asheville

 

ABOUT RESONANCE CONSULTANCY
As leading advisors in tourism, real estate and economic development for more than a decade, Resonance combines business strategy and marketing creativity to shape the future of communities, cities and countries. Our services span place development strategy, place marketing, placemaking and place branding. Our team has completed more than 100 visioning, strategy, planning, policy and branding projects for destinations and developers in more than 70 countries. To learn more about us and our services, please visit ResonanceCo.com.