Electronic Pampering at Comdex EnvoyWorldWide didn't build its MessageBlaster service for the meetings market, but, hey, if the shoe fits. . . .

MessageBlaster (www.envoyworldwide.com) is a Web-based tool that lets you send the same message to many people simultaneously. The message can originate as print or voice communication and can be received by a variety of platforms: e-mail, phone, cell phone with SMS (short message service), pager, or fax. What's more, the messages can be personalized and tracked, and users can even request a yes/no response from the recipient (except from SMS phones).

What does this have to do with meetings? Just ask Foster City, Calif.-based Key3 Media, organizers of Comdex, which signed on with MessageBlaster to automate communications for its fall 2000 show in Las Vegas. This annual gathering of all things tech draws about a quarter million people to its exhibit halls, but it was the 6,000-plus registrants who paid to attend the Comdex educational conferences who got the extra MessageBlaster attention. "This is an added value for these attendees," says Debbie Jackson, attendee manager for Key3 Media in its Needham, Mass., offices. "People are intimidated by Comdex. With this, we can reach out and tell them it's going to be painless."

Before going on-site, Jackson used MessageBlaster to send e-mail and fax messages with conference news and reminders. For example, registrants were updated on keynote schedules and told where to be when to show up. She also asked whether they wanted to receive messages while on-site and to what address/device the message should be sent. In the end, Key3 didn't send any messages during the show. "But it was nice to know we could have," Jackson says.