(USA TODAY)-- You have until March 10 at noon to vote on your favorite convention city. What makes you happiest about anticipating or attending a big show?
When choosing the nominees, our expert, John C. Rose, selected 10 "top-tier" cities and 10 "second-tier" cities, thus leveling the playing field for smaller metros. "It was really tough to narrow the choice of top ten for Tier 1 cities. Philadelphia, Seattle, Phoenix, Houston and Los Angeles all have worthy facilities and city infrastructure that put them in contention," says Rose.
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He offers an explanation by category of the criteria he used for nominations:
1) Convention Center itself
John looked at how up-to-date each of these convention center facilities is; the amenities of the center; and whether an ongoing modernization program has been completed within the last 5 years. He feels these directly impact how well an infrastructure is able to support national large-scale trade shows and conventions.
2) City Offerings
John also evaluated how many nearby attractions, historical sites and entertainment options there were to each center.
3) Proximity of Hotels and Restaurants
These nominations are also based on how many hotels and restaurants are within walking distance or a short cab ride away.
4) Travel Ease, Convenience and Costs
Nominations also took into account the ease of flying to that city's location with no more than one airline transfer; distance from the airport to the convention center; and types of transportation available to get you there. Related travel costs (local transportation, parking, cab rates, public transportation or rental car and hotels) were also considered.
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