At the 1997 New England Meetings Industry Conference & Exposition (NEMICE), which drew a record 1,200 attendees to the World Trade Center Boston in April, the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) announced the June launch of meetingpath. An interactive Web site (www.meetingpath.com), meetingpath enables meeting planners to access information from 2,000 suppliers in New England and send those suppliers information about their own meeting requirements.

The Web site will allow planners to narrow down a selection of, say, hotels in a particular region by specifying the number of guest rooms, the number of meeting rooms, and/or the capacity of meeting rooms they require. Planners then send RFPs (requests for proposals) to the list of hotels that meet their criteria. Each hotel will send a yes-or-no response, along with the date they expect to e-mail a proposal to the planner.

Developed with planner and supplier input, meetingpath includes an updated listing of sales contacts at each facility. Another feature allows planners to create customized distributions lists for suppliers they contact regularly. The service, which is geared to help planners with smaller meetings, not citywides, is free to members and planners. Designed by the GBCVB and MarketStream, LLC, in Westwood, MA, meetingpath has been endorsed by the New England Society of Convention & Visitors Bureaus.

Currently a regional service, the site may expand nationally, according to MarketStream and the GBCVB. Leslie Mathieu Hogan, vice president of marketing, GBCVB, will be meeting with Karen Jordan, president and CEO of the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, to discuss meetingpath. "An IACVB endorsement would be wonderful," Hogan says.