Event planners can send electronic Requests for Proposals to hotels from any number of Internet sites. The problem, however, is that almost every site has created a different format for those RFPs. The situation can bog down a hotel's sales force with translation efforts, which, ultimately, means slower response times for the planner.
But Newmarket International, Inc., of Portsmouth, N.H., may have a solution in a new service, called Meetingbro-ker.com. The service can translate any electronic RFP format into a standard format and integrate the leads with a hotel's Delphi computer sales andsystem. Delphi is also a Newmarket product.
Meetingbroker.com is not designed to compete with meeting planning Internet sites, nor is it the industry's elusive standard electronic RFP; it's a "big translation engine," says Eric Blonda, program manager for Newmarket's e-commerce efforts. "Everyone will still use the software and sites that are best for them." Now in a test phase, Meetingbroker is hoping to sign on its initial subscribers by the first quarter of 2000.
Like any other industry Internet initiative, success will ultimately depend on how many customers subscribe. Hilton Hotels is among the users of Newmarket's Delphi system and although they have not signed up with Meetingbroker.com, Hilton has expressed an interest in reviewing the product. According to Keith Hymel, Hilton's managing director, sales technology, the hotel is in discussions with Newmarket about the new service. "The concept of the product will add value to all . . . through improved quality and reduced cycle times in the business process," says Hymel. "This in turn will enable a higher quality and faster customer response."
Here are a few of the meetings industry Web sites offering this service.