For the fourth time, the Professional Convention Management Association’s convention center silent auction is offering the highest bidder a greatly reduced rate for an annual meeting package. This year the destination is New Orleans.

The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center are offering a meeting package for a convention at the center for any organization confirming New Orleans between 2011 and 2018. Bidding for the package, with a value of up to $1 million, starts at $150,000. The auction will remain open until June 30, 2011, unless sold through the "Buy It Now!" option, which allows bidders to purchase the package for $250,000, immediately ending the auction.

Last week at its annual meeting in Las Vegas, PCMA announced that the American Society of Anesthesiologists was the successful bidder for last year’s convention package offered by Chicago’s McCormick Place. The city and center donate the space and other elements of a convention package to PCMA, and the proceeds from the winning bid help to fund PCMA educational programs.

David S. Causton, general manager of McCormick Place, also announced at the PCMA general session that HIMSS, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, will be bringing its annual convention back to Chicago in 2015 and 2019. HIMSS was one of the associations that took Chicago out of its meetings rotation, due, in large part, to the high electrical and other labor costs at McCormick Place. That exodus, and others, served as a wake-up call to the Illinois General Assembly, said Causton, which led to historic reforms in 2010 designed to reduce labor costs and make Chicago more competitive as a convention destination.