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Conventions and conferences will be big in 2012

It looks like 2012 is shaping up to be a big year for conventions and conferences.

Room bookings for groups are up nearly 6% from February 2012 to January 2013 compared with the same period in 2011-12, according to data from TravelClick, a New York company that provides e-commerce products and services to the hotel industry.

The good news for conference and convention goers is that daily group rates for the rest of the year are down 1.1%, according to TravelClick.

So what cities will host the most meetings this year? Perhaps it’s no surprise that Charlotte, N.C., has already recorded a 50.3% increase in group bookings for the year compared with last year because the city is scheduled to host the Democratic National Convention during the week of Sept. 3.

Another spike in group bookings this year, according to TravelClick, is taking place in Tampa, Fla., where bookings are up 15.1% over the same period last year. Tampa is schedule to host the Republican National Convention in the week of Aug. 27.

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Group bookings are also up 15.3% in Houston, which is hosting several smaller gatherings, including a conference for Microsoft customers and partners, a gathering of oil and gas industry representatives and workers who keep the nation’s Starbucks stores dispensing caffeine-fueled drinks.

In California, group bookings for 2012 are up 5.2% in Los Angeles. 7.3% in San Francisco and 9.6% in San Diego.

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