The dip in the economy may be taking its toll on some travel budgets as well. When we checked in with some upcoming conferences, we found attendance slightly off from '07. The crowd for the Association of Cable Communicators ' annual Forum (Sun-Wed, DC) will probably be down 15%-20%, according to exec dir Steve Jones. “We think we're just seeing a general reflection of the weakness in the economy,” he said. The public affairs/govt conference, now in its 23rd year, still is expected to draw a hearty 350 or so execs, with rooms at the Mayflower Hotel sold out. Next week's ACA Summit in DC also looks like it won't match '07's in terms of numbers. “Last year was a big year for us with nearly 300 attendees,” partly because several large members' manager meetings coincided with the conference, said ACA CEO Matt Polka. “We have a couple of those meetings this year too, but not as many. I am hopeful that we will be at our then high-water mark number in 2006, which was about 225,” Polka said. As of Fri, ACA was nearly there with 219 attendees. Right now, the NAB Show (Apr 11-17, Las Vegas) is tracking roughly 5% below where it was at a similar time last year. “Given the difficult economy, we are delighted that the numbers are holding up, which speaks to the power of the NAB Show brand,” said a spokesman for the group. Last year's show had 111,028 registered attendees. One event that seems to be bucking the trend so far is NCTA's Cable Show set for May 18-20 in New Orleans. Registration is on par with last year right now, a rep said. The '07 show in Vegas drew 15K.: A change from past years will be general session with CEOs from major PR companies ( Richard Edelman and Mark Hass) vs CEOs from within the cable industry. Tues night's Beacon awards gala (black tie optional) will be hosted by Comedy Central's Paul Mercurio. Attendees will get a new communications handbook by ACC that retails for $200. This week marks the last time ACC's annual confab will be held in DC during the spring (so make sure you take a lot of photos of those cherry blossoms). The conference moves to the fall next year as part of “Cable Connection,” the industry's effort to consolidate events into 1 week in the spring and another in the fall. Next year, Forum will be in Denver, but the city will change every year. Jones said organizers are still working out how to manage the new schedule, but that ACC's Beacons Gala and various breakout sessions are a go. “The real question is whether we'll integrate our general sessions in with CTAM Summit's general sessions. There is some natural overlap between PR, govt and marketing folks,” he said.

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