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October 23, 2014

Room Rate Dispute Drives Large-Scale Healthcare Conference from Chicago

Big news from Chicago today: One of the largest trade shows at McCormick Place is canceling plans to hold its 2019 meeting in the Windy City in a reported dispute over hotel room rates.

According to Crain's, the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society show, which had committed to holding its annual conference and exhibition in the city in 2015 and again in 2019, has notified Chicago tourism officials that it will break its deal for 2019 and move the convention to Orlando

According to the show website, HIMSS15 is set to bring more than 38,000 healthcare IT professionals from around the world to Chicago for a week-long program of education and networking. The show reportedly threatened to set up shop elsewhere in 2009, citing McCormick Place's high costs as a factor in the decision. Two years later, executives announced a 2015 return following labor changes. 

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But costs seem to have once again encouraged those executives to opt for another city for the 2019 event. As Crain's reports, the main cause for concern is a room rate clause that an even larger conference, the annual Radiological Society of North America show, includes in its hotel contracts. The clause reportedly stipulates that hotel operators hosting RSNA attendees must guarantee a lower room rate than any other conference in Chicago between April and November that books 10,000 room nights or more. The provision, which the article says is similar to a "most favored nation" clause used in other industries, would prevent hotel operators from charging lower rates to other conventions.

Read more here and sound off below: Have room rates or room policies caused you to choose one city over another for a large-scale show? 

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