Business

Cities get creative to woo meeting business

Jessica Hiemenz of Boston (right) and Amber Peloso of Ottawa visited a Toronto exhibit.
Jessica Hiemenz of Boston (right) and Amber Peloso of Ottawa visited a Toronto exhibit.Photos by Lane Turner/Globe Staff

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Lisa Boyd has been treated like royalty since she arrived in Boston last weekend. She received a free pair of skinny jeans, a complimentary massage, breakfast in bed, and numerous other free meals.

Why does the New Jersey resident rate this reception? Her decisions can mean millions of dollars in business for hotels, restaurants, retailers, and local economies.

Boyd is an event planner for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and one of 2,000 members of her profession in Boston for the annual meeting of the Professional Convention Management Association—the people who decide which cities get lucrative conventions and conferences. As a result, they are being courted by hospitality representatives from around the country who have descended on the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center hoping to get a slice of the $280 billion in direct spending the industry pumps into the US economy each year.

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