The sound of no one talking: Firms canceling conventions and conferences

More companies are meeting virtually since the recession and it is affecting meeting planners, speakers and conference centers. Hardest hit are the two meccas for conferences; Orlando and Las Vegas.

  • Las Vegas has seen 402 conventions and meetings canceled from October to mid-March at a cost of $166 million to the local economy, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority reports. That doesn't include lost gambling revenue.

  • Orlando has had 114 meetings scheduled for this year canceled as of late last month. The Orlando Convention & Visitors Bureau says the local economy will lose $26 million from the cancellations, with about 146,000 room nights at hotels lost.

Other cities, like Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco have also suffered downturns as companies look to webinars, tele-seminars and other technology networking to achieve the same results. Even organizations that are doing very well are canceling events as they don't want to look spendthrift while billions of dollars are going into bailouts and rescues.