Update: National Association of Hispanic Journalists President Brandon Benavides said 1,378 are in attendance at the 2018 NAHJ conference during Friday’s luncheon.
The 2018 National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference exceeded attendance expectations, but the higher number of attendees has inconvenienced some.
The association planned to host 850 people but as of Thursday afternoon, 1,367 were registered for the conference and career fair, said NAHJ President Brandon Benavides in an email.
The conference, held with the Native American Journalists Association, is taking place at the InterContinental hotel in downtown Miami from July 18 to 21. NAJA registered 150 people, Benavides said, but would not specify whether the 1,350 participants include exhibitors and speakers.
As early as June 29, Benavides said in a tweet the conference already had more than 1,000 registered attendees. He announced the rooms reserved at the InterContinental hotel were sold out and recommended other hotels in the area for those who couldn’t book a room in time.
But 10 days before the tweet, when Veronica Gonzalez tried to make a reservation for her stay in Miami, the rooms reserved for the conference attendees — at $150 per night — were already booked.
“I mean it’s a month out, you know? I’m expecting it’s going to be alright,” said Gonzalez, an editor at the Virginian-Pilot. “I was surprised. It was still a time I thought I could book a room.”
The InterContinental reserved about 500 rooms for NAHJ at the $150 rate, said Mike Kovensky, hotel director of sales and marketing.
Gonzalez has attended about five NAHJ conferences since 2000, and she chose to come to Miami because she had never visited before.
“The other thing that was attractive was that it was $150 per night for NAHJ, so I was trying to get something around that price,” Gonzalez said. “Miami is expensive.”
Gonzalez found a Holiday Inn nearby, and booked a room for $152 per night. Her commute to the InterContinental is a 10-minute walk.
“This is a luxury hotel,” Gonzalez said. “I wish I was here.”
When the Intercontinental sold out, NAHJ secured an overflow hotel so that it could accomodate more people, Benavides said. The Courtyard by Marriott Downtown/Brickell Area, about a seven-minute walk away, was also sold out.