ChaliceChick has several good things to say to and about the independent affiliates situation, some of which also I've commended in my own way here or to colleagues privately.
Key among these is a deliberate effort to take advantage of General Assembly as the marketplace it is, and for organizations to lever this critical mass by holding unofficial events as close to the action as practical. In years past, this might have stirred up fears that the group stepping out would be seen as disloyal. As if holding a minority position firmly was a bad thing. But now almost all of the former affiliates are outside the gate and -- as I've said -- this puts all these groups on the same level, no matter what they do.
So, where would the meetings be held. I don't think it would be as inexpensive as ChaliceChick suggests, but a group would be in a better position to get a less expensive meeting room if it sponsored a housing block. But that means picking a hotel or hotels that aren't already blocked for General Assembly.
So, what are the closest hotels to the Convention Center, with meetings rooms, not blocked?
Here are the closest hotels, the list coming from the Ft. Lauderdale convention bureau.
Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel 954-626-1700 0.15 miles
Holiday Inn Express-Convention Center 800-465-4329 0.15 miles
Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel & Yacht Club 866-380-1110 0.15 miles
Hyatt Regency Pier 66 800-233-1234 0.25 miles
Embassy Suites-Fort Lauderdale 800-854-6146 0.4 miles
AmeriSuites-Convention Center 800-833-1516 0.5 miles
Comfort Suites Convention Center 800-760-0000 0.75 miles
Hampton Inn Fort Lauderdale Airport North 800-426-7866 2.4 miles
Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa 800-222-6543 1.6 miles
Lago Mar Resort & Club 800-524-6627 1.6 miles
Sheraton Yankee Clipper 800-627-7109 1.6 miles
Best Western Oceanside Inn 800-367-1007 1.6 miles
Days Inn Bahia Cabana Beach Resort & Marina 800-323-2244 1.7 miles
Bahia Mar Resort 800-327-8154 1.8 miles
Sheraton Yankee Trader 800-627-7108 2.9 miles
The Atlantic 866-837-4274 3.2 miles