PlanSoft Renames, Redesigns Web Site PlanSoft's completely redesigned meeting planning Web site has a new address: www.mpoint.com. The updated site is one of a host of products from Cleveland-based PlanSoft Corp. that are in "advanced stages of development," says Ed Tromczynski, president and chief operating officer. "We couldn't call them all `PlanSoft,'" he quips. Hence the rebranding of the site, the first of many new branded products to be "brought to you by PlanSoft."
The biggest change at the site is in the property search function. Instead of filling in numerous search criteria, the site returns instant results after just one field is filled in. You then continue to narrow the search with each new field. This "step search" method was designed to ensure that a user never gets a "zero" result. It is also meant to make it easier for less-experienced, occasional meeting planners to use the search tool.
Another highlight of the new site is the comparison page: Choose up to eight properties and have their vital stats displayed simultaneously in columns across your screen. The site's other offerings - electronic RFPs, a job board, community discussion forums, and lots of rich content - also have been updated, all based on a year's worth of user feedback, Tromczynski notes.
For more details on PlanSoft and the many other meeting planning Web sites in cyberspace, check out "The Offline Guide to Online Tools," an insert beginning on page 53 of October CMI, or go online to www.meetingsnet.com/dot-comre view.
BELL OAKS, an Atlanta-based executive search company, has its own form of currency: Bell Bucks. The company still rewards sales consultants with real money for closing a deal, but from October to December, employees can earn chances at gifts just for trying hard. The more work activities they complete - such as arranging an interview or going on a client visit - the more times they get to draw from a bag of Bell Bucks, which have different denominations. At the company's holiday party, CEO Price Harding auctions off $15,000 to $20,000 worth of prizes, from bread makers and VCRs to laptops and microwave ovens.
Though still a small company with 65 employees, Bell Oaks has been recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the country. According to Harding, Bell Oaks expects to double in size and make between $7 million and $10 million next year. As the company grows, Harding hopes the Bell Bucks prizes will, too. "My dream," he says, "is to auction off a Jeep Ranger."
Leave it to a veteran event planner to write a soup-to-nuts book on how to do it right. Judy Allen, founder and president of Judy Allen Productions, has put it all down in Event Planning: The Ultimate Guide to Successful Meetings, Corporate Events, Fundraising Galas, Conferences, Conventions, Incentives and Other Special Events (2000 Wiley & Sons, Canada; www.wiley.com/canada/event_planning/). Allen covers all bases, from budgeting to site selection, with helpful, hands-on tip boxes throughout the book.
An Insider's "Best of Broadway"
Finding an insider's activity for attendees can be tough. But the Millennium Broadway has a little gem that fits the bill: "A Cognoscente's Tour of Times Square," a guided walking tour of the Theatre District led by the hotel's general manager, Michael Littler.
Littler is a natural for this role - he is author of A Highly Personalized Guide to the Immediate Neighborhood, a self-described cheerleader for Times Square and the Theatre District, and a booster for the arts. Littler will customize tours to focus on theater history, famous landmarks, architecture, or dining. Tours launch from the historic Hudson Theatre, now part of the hotel's Millennium Conference Center. Rates start at $150 per hour for groups of up to 10 people, and vary based on the length and type of tour.
Besides offering a bit of the Bohemian, the tours do some civic good - proceeds support the city's Theatre Development Fund, a nonprofit arts service organization that funds dozens of new productions on and off Broadway.
- On page 162 of the Greater Chicago site file in CMI September, the picture of the Morton Arboretum was identified as being in Oak Park. It is in Lisle.
- CMI September had an incorrect Web address for the Chicago CTB (pages 162 and 166). You can visit the CTB at www.choosechicago.com.