While outboarding -- renting a hotel suite and wooing customers at a trade show without actually supporting the show itself -- is nothing new, the recent Consumer Electronics Show's problems with it have caught the attention of the New York Times In fact IAEE released a statement condemning the practice four years ago.
What does seem to be new, at least to me, is that hotels at CES seemed to be taking the initiative to give the boot to convention crashers. Is that putting too much of a burden on the hotel? I tend to agree with the hospitality lawyer the article quotes and say it is, especially in this economy, a bit much to ask hotels to be the exhibit police, though I applaud those that are willing and able to do it.
I can't imagine this problem is going to ever go away entirely, but it is interesting to see a major newspaper covering it.
Update: If you ever have doubts about the importance of fact checking, there's a doozy in the article that someone just pointed out to me: The article says CES drew 1.4 million attendees, down from 1.7 million. Needless to say, those numbers actually refer to the show's square footage. Oops.