I don't know if they are exactly analogous but in tour we made a stop in Fort Wayne, IN. We did it because it was our second best guarantee (second to NYC, better than DC), they put us in a hotel, and it's all ages with a good crowd.
We sold a lot of merch and several people thanked us for playing in FW.
So guess the answer is all of the above. Don't underestimate the value of a clean bed in lieu if a few bucks in guarantees. Being outside a big city can make it daunting to attract band, but if you can get a rate deal with a hotel so the band knows they can shower and not sleep on a floor you might get more bands willing to do it.
Also, don't undersell how appreciative the crowd will be, I'd rather play for appreciate music fans in FW than a bigger crowd of jaded cunts in Chicago.