Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International has signed a two-year alliance with online housing provider Passkey, naming it the association's third “digital partner.” Passkey joins Arlington, Va.-based Cvent, the official online registration provider, and Petaluma, Calif.-based NearSpace, MPI's partner for delivering event information to hand-held computers.

The new alliance will affect MPI's members and meeting management in three ways. First, Passkey will provide housing services for MPI's major international events and smaller Institutes, beginning with the MPI Professional Education Conference in January 2004 in San Antonio. Second, discounts will be given to MPI members who license the Passkey system. The size of the discount will be determined on a case-by-case basis, according to MPI spokeswoman Kelly Schulz. And third, MPI and Passkey will collaborate on education programs, likely to appear first at the PEC in San Antonio, that promote awareness of online housing and its benefits. Also, visitors to the MPI Web site will soon see a link to a list of “Passkey-enabled” venues.

Will the Passkey relationship affect site selection for MPI, favoring cities that are signed on with the housing provider? Not according to Schulz, who said, “If we go to a city that is not Passkey-enabled, we'll work with the bureau's preferred housing provider.” During 2004 and 2005, MPI's major conferences will be held in San Antonio, Denver, San Diego, and Miami. Only the convention bureau in Miami doesn't have a relationship with Passkey. The San Diego bureau handles housing through PGI, which is a Passkey client.