- StarCite Adds Air
For some time now, StarCite (www.starcite.com), the Philadelphia-based meeting management dot-com, has allowed planners to search for meeting sites, send RFPs, with hotels, and plan and budget for meetings; via its partner, Berkeley, Calif.-based Cardinal Communications, it has allowed attendees to register for a meeting and book a hotel room. Now StarCite allows group travelers to book their air travel, using a booking engine that adheres to group travel policy and can be customized according to company, meeting, and even audiences within meetings. The service is powered by a custom version of Cliqbook, an online travel application from Outtask Inc., Alexandria, Va.
- B-there Hotels
Westport, Conn.-based b-there, which creates online housing, registration, and travel booking sites for events, is selling directly to individual hotel properties. The upshot could mean savings for event planners: Planners who buy b-there services directly pay set-up and training fees as well as a per-transaction cost. Those who book a “b-there — powered” hotel will avoid the set-up fee, often in the $10,000 range, which is a substantial savings for planners who book just a few meetings a year. Adam's Mark Hotels and Resorts is the first chain to sell the b-there products, and online hotelcompany MadSearch has also inked an agreement.
- Really Real-Time Meetings
In January, Hyatt Hotels Corp. brought its online booking engine for small meetings out of beta without much fanfare. Recently, however, the company has begun marketing the Web site — www.e-mmediatemeetings.com — in earnest. The site allows planners with meetings needing up to 100 guest rooms to find a property with actual available meeting space and get price estimates based on their specific needs.
- Technology Leadership
E.J. Siwek, CMP, president and founder of FLASHpoint Technologies, LLC, has been named to head the Technology Advisory Council for the Convention Industry Council's Accepted Practices Exchange initiative. APEX is an effort to develop and implement accepted practices for the meeting industry in seven key areas: terminology; history/post-event reports; requests for proposals; resumes and work orders; meeting and site profiles; housing; and. Siwek's task force is assisting APEX by providing industry collaboration and technological assistance. Siwek replaces Corbin Ball, CMP, founder of Corbin Ball Associates.