by Michael C. Lowe | April 13, 2011

 In a poll of 100 meeting planners conducted prior to the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International's Affordable Meetings Mid-America Conference & Exposition in Chicago, 75 percent of those surveyed felt rising gas prices would negatively affect meeting-related travel. In addition, 59 percent of respondents believed the economy would be the biggest factor affecting the growth of the U.S. meetings industry, while 26 percent cited travel expenses as the largest obstacle. HSMAI's Affordable Meetings Mid-America conference begins today[4/13] at Chicago's Navy Pier.