The headlines are heavy with stories about giants such as Compaq Computer Corp. and Dell Computer Corp. nixing plans for large user conferences. Meetings are smaller and closer to home. Trade show attendee figures have tumbled. But it's not all bad news, say industry observers.

While it may seem like a small number, U.S. hotel occupancy dropped 1.7 percent in March, according to Smith Travel Research. A comparison of year-to-year figures in major cities, such as San Francisco/San Mate

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