A funny thing has happened on the way to today's hotel seller's market. Associations that previously never even considered second-tier cities are booking them. Those that tried them a decade or so ago are trying them again.

"We started thinking about second-tier cities again because in today's environment, we were finding first-tier cities considerably less interested in citywide conventions than in the past," says James H. Sweeney, associate executive director of the Chicago-based Am

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