Medical Bookings Push Convention Activity Into The Future
By John P. Hernandez
Medical bookings push convention activity into the future By John P. Hernandez
Nine years into the future, hospitality industry officials say one of the largest medical conventions in the country, likely to draw 15,000 visitors, has reserved the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The American Academy of Dermatology has booked the venue from Feb. 27-March 2, 2010, for an annual meeting. The booking, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau personnel said, is expected to funnel millions of dollars into the local economy.
Beach hotels will see the lion’s share of the revenue. The event is expected to result in 28,340 room-nights.
"What we are seeing is a lot of future medical bookings five, six years down the road," said Ita Moriarty, senior vice president of convention sales with the bureau. "We haven’t been seeing many near future-type bookings."
This year, the American Occupational Therapy Association, which met here for three days in May, drew 5,000 delegates, resulting in 6,225 room-nights.
While no other medical organization has booked an event here during the next two years, starting in 2005, Ms. Moriarty said, things pick up. Three bookings have been signed to date, starting with the American Academy of Neurology.
That ’05 convention is expected to draw 6,500 delegates and generate 20,415 room-nights at local hotels. From May 7-12, the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine will hold its convention here. Organizers expect that event to draw 3,700 people and generate 12,270-room nights.
The year will end on a high note for medical bookings, officials said, when the Society of Neuroscience and its 25,000 members generate 45,400 room-nights worth of hotel business from Nov. 12-17. It will mark the third time the organization has held its convention in Miami. The group held its 1994 and 1999 convention here as well.
"Large organizations have to book years in advance because of all the planning and logistical work that is involved with a gathering of that size," Ms. Moriarty said.
In 2006, two medical conventions so far have been booked. The American Academy of Allergy & Asthma will meet March 3-7. More than 7,000 are expected to book 17,000 room-nights for that meeting. Also, from Oct. 22-25, 7,000-members of the American Association of Blood Banks are expected to generate 15,485 room-nights.
Other conventions booked at the center next year include the 20,000-member Printing Association of Florida down to the 1,400-member Competitive Telecommunications Association. In all, more than 59,500 people are expected to attend gatherings next year at the convention center for a total of more than 79,235 room-nights.
"Aside from the convention center, the Fontainebleau Hilton and the Loews Hotel are very popular places to hold conventions," Ms. Moriarty said. "We are seeing more and more conventions booked there every day."
Calling itself "Miami’s most renowned landmark hotel," a spokesperson said the Fontainebleau Hilton offers 40 meeting rooms with a combined 190,000 square feet of space and can handle groups of up to 5,000.
"I think we as a city have done a lot to improve our image around the world, and companies and organizations want to book conventions here because of that," Ms. Moriarty said. "Our hotel infrastructure on the Beach is improving every day, as is the convention center itself. With everything the city has to offer, why wouldn’t people want to book conventions here?"