San Jose's prowling SF's meetings

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According to this article on hotel-online, San Jose is looking at San Francisco's ongoing hotel labor woes with UNITE NOW as a well-stocked stream from which to fish. And what trout there might be in those troubled waters--San Jose just caught itself the 2,000-attendee meeting of The Organization of American Historians. OAH is moving its event out of the San Francisco Hilton and taking it to San Jose next month. OK, so a 2,000-person meeting isn't exactly Comdex (then again, even Comdex wasn't Comdex this year), but it could be a prime catch of about $2 million for San Jose.

I guess San Jose must like its fish poached. But I'm not so sure San Francisco buys this hook, line, and sinker.

    John Marks, president of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, said he is somewhat concerned about San Jose's tactics, particularly if they involve paying the group's cancellation penalty.

    "At what point do you meet the ethical question of trying to become a predator, trying to prey on someone else's business? I have a little bit of concern about that," said Marks. "It is a fine line."

While they didn't pay off the Hilton cancellation fee directly, "To entice them, [Dan Fenton, president and chief executive of San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau] said the cost structure took into account the hotel cancellation fee."

We've been hearing stories--off the record, of course--about how certain hotels in areas dense with Elvis impersonators have been offering to pay cancellation fees if planners agree to move their meeting from, say, Chicago or Orlando to their properties. Sounds like San Jose is going on the record with its marketing tactics.

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