The Religious Conference Management Association's 34th annual World Conference and Exposition, held in San Jose in February, saw a 5 percent increase in attendance over the previous year's conference in St. Louis, according to DeWayne Woodring, RCMA executive director.

In a panel discussion, Fred Shea, vice president of sales, Hyatt Hotels Corp., said that the current seller's market will likely continue through 2007. “Hotels are hedging their bets after that,” he said.

For meetings that are very price-sensitive, Shea advises flexibility on both dates and locations. Shifting meeting dates by even one day can result in big savings. He says there are deals available on weekends, holidays, and in the summer, times that are not filled by corporate meetings.

The RCMA board of directors met prior to the conference last week and selected Grand Rapids, Mich., as the site for its 2009 conference. RCMA will be held in Louisville in 2007 and Orlando in 2008.