By Kevin Collison
Oracle is moving the former Cerner Health Conference from Kansas City to Las Vegas next year, a more than $18 million blow to the local convention and hotel industry.
In an internal notice to employees obtained by CityScene KC, Oracle said the event would be held at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas from Sept. 18 to 20.
Andrea O’Hara, executive director of the Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Kansas City, said the loss is not a complete surprise to the local hospitality industry.
“It’s a big deal, one of our larger events of the year,” she said. “We were kind of anticipating this with Oracle taking over Cerner.”
The annual health conference, one of the top 10 conventions in Kansas City, has been held here consecutively since 2007, according to the Visit KC website. It also was a Kansas City convention staple for much of the period before then going back to 1988.
The event generates an estimated 14,000 hotel “room nights” during its three-day run, attracting healthcare industry professionals from throughout the country.
In 2016, Cerner estimated its health conference would generate more than $18 million for the Kansas City economy, based on spending by the company and attendees, which more than half of whom travel from outside the area, according to a release
Cerner, one of Kansas City’s largest employers, was acquired by Austin-based Oracle in June. Before the takeover, Cerner had a contract to host its annual health conferences in Kansas City through last year, according to the Visit KC website.
Officials at Visit KC and Oracle could not be reached immediately for comment.
The decision to relocate the health conference is only the latest hit to the local economy since Oracle bought Cerner, one of Kansas City’s biggest private employers.
Oracle announced in October it was consolidating all its employees to its Innovations Campus in south Kansas City.
The move will shutter Cerner’s former world headquarters campus in North Kansas City and operations at its Realization Campus in the former Marion Laboratories building in south Kansas City.
In 2020, Cerner decided to close its Continuous Campus in western Wyandotte County at Village West. They too, were relocated to the Innovations Campus.
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Well, that’s a bummer. What a loss to the city, not just in revenue, but the ability to show ourselves off to folks from all over the country.
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