Update on Housing Software Companies Following an announcement in October of its "intent" to enter into a partnership with the convention housing software company Passkey Systems, Inc., the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus says it is still negotiating with Passkey. "But it is very unlikely that we will enter an exclusive agreement with a housing vendor for the simple reason that one vendor may not suit the unique needs of a given destination," says IACVB president Ed Nielsen.

Passkey Systems, a pioneer provider of Internet-based housing management solutions, continues to sign up clients. The company has citywide housing contracts in Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Kansas City, and Orlando, says Brian Layton, executive vice president. It has also contracted for test events in both New Orleans and Seattle, and currently has contracts with two independent housing providers, Flying Colors and Event Travel Management.

"We're in discussion with 41 cities, and are in the midst of contractual fine-tuning or active negotiation with four other key cities and seven third-party housing providers," Layton adds.

For more information, contact Passkey at (617) 328-4800. Or visit the company's comprehensive Web site at www.passkey.com.

Another company looking to expand its presence in the convention housing software market is Jade Technologies, which this month launched an improved version of WynTrac, its Internet-based software program for convention housing management. Unlike Passkey, the new software can be used by either a third-party housing company or by individual associations. WynTrac will be downloadable from the Internet for a refundable deposit of about $500, says director of sales and marketing, J.B. Morris.

The Chicago-based Institute of Food Technologists will be using the new version of WynTrac (through a third-party vendor) for its meeting in June 1999 in Chicago. Stan Butler, CMP, IFT's meetings and exposition manager, says that exhibitors, for a fee, can download lists of specific types of conference registrants. The association gets a cut of the transaction fee. "It's a revenue opportunity for the association, and it helps exhibitors target their pre-show mailings," he notes. For more information, contact Jade Technologies at (972) 349-7600.