WILLIAM YOUNGS didn't think he would have much trouble booking a relatively inexpensive meeting for his company at a nice Manhattan hotel January 3 to 4 — the first business days of 2005. “The hotels are dead after the holidays, so you would think that rates would be really good,” says Youngs, meeting planner with the Westfield Group, a Summit, N.J. — based meeting management company. But when he called seven hotels for rates and availability, he found otherwise. “The rates were through the ...

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