If you have ever wanted to try one of those online Request for Proposal engines, now's the time. In an industry first, PlanSoft Corp., Twinsburg, Ohio, has dropped its 4 percent commission on transactions between planners and facilities initiated through its online RFPs.

The move is an effort to beef up site traffic at www.mpoint.com and stay competitive in the down economy, according to vice president of marketing Christine Stadler, who says the company is committed to the promotion through the end of the year. Mpoint features, among other services, a database of nearly 20,000 property listings, online RFPs, meeting consolidation tools, a speaker database, and, working through partner companies, meeting registration and housing services.

PlanSoft originally allowed only independent planners to use the RFP service commission-free. Last year, it changed that, however, putting all users on the same 4 percent commission model. You can guess what happened next: Traffic from independents dropped significantly. According to Stadler, PlanSoft's move also addresses some planners' negative perceptions of online RFPs, specifically that the commission paid to the host (whether it be PlanSoft, StarCite, or others) could hinder their ability to cut a good deal with the meeting property. Now all planners are invited to use the service commission-free.