* All Meetings Success Story--AllMeetings (www.allmeetings.com) has experienced more than 100 percent monthly growth since its launch in May 1999, which company officials attribute to its cost-calculating site selection service. The site uses a proprietary search engine with thousands of hotels listed, as well as average meal, airfare, and ground transportation costs based on the city selected. Other features include a "Budget Estimator" based on hotel selections, a search tool that allows users to find hotels that meet specific features or amenities requirements, and an online RFP. Hotels pay a 10 percent commission upon booking.
* Bright Start for StarCite--StarCite (www.starcite.com) has come online with a large, searchable supplier database, online RFPs, news, and hot dates. Special features include: a private, customized site for each company; access to a management application (the evolution of McGettigan's CORE Discovery software), which allows every meeting organizer in a company to consolidate meeting data; the capability for users to "re-sell" canceled space; and consultations with an expert (40 of whom are on staff). StarCite also hosts live, online auctions, where people can put meetings up for bid by hotels. During the live auctions, participants see on their computers a picture of the entire bidding process, and proprietary software allows simultaneous interaction. Meeting executives pay a fee to StarCite, equal to 10 percent of the difference between the "winning" hotel's opening bid and its final bid, times the number of room nights; and the winning hotel pays $3.90 per room night (or a reduced fee of $2.90 for hotels that sign up for annual packages).
* SeeUthere Can Make Meeting Planning Easy--SeeUthere (www.seeuthere.com) is an easy-to-use site for planning and marketing meetings. Users can send e-mail invitations to attendees or create a Web site on the spot, complete with a welcome message, news about the organization, a mission statement, and contact information. SeeUthere marketplace offers everything from online AV suppliers and computer rental companies to decorators and event insurance.
* Sales Meeting Ideas at The Writing Works--If the motif for your next sales meeting just isn't coming to you there's an e-commerce option to consider. John K. MacKenzie, author of "It's Show Time: How to Plan and Hold Successful Sales Meetings," is selling his meeting scripts, themes, and ideas online at www.thewritingworks.com. He lists 24 meeting scripts, 12 meeting outlines, four product intro concepts, and 760 themes and meeting environment links. He sells them, via e-mail, starting at $12.50 each.
In an age of overcapacity in virtually every area of life, "average is a good formula for going out of business," said William Taylor, co-founder and editor of Fast Company magazine, at a recent meeting of the International Association of Exhibition Managers. He repeatedly referred to Dell Computers as the flagship company in the new economy, where phenomenal success has to be built around the customer experience--the only way to break through market saturation. Meetings are essential for communicating strategy, sharing ideas, and--just as important--making contact in this fast-paced work environment. People come to meetings "hungry for new ideas, new ways to understand a world that is going haywire," Taylor said. We are living through a "profound reinvention of work," he concluded. "People have higher expectations about work now than ever before; they see it as a way of expressing themselves."
If you think there's not enough meeting planning software out there to fill a book, think again. CMI's technology columnist Corbin Ball, CMP, has catalogued the options from A to Z in his 240-page book, The Ultimate Meeting Professional's Software Guide.
The book includes chapters on budgeting, housing, registration, site selection, and surveys, to name a few, with contact information, system requirements, and prices for each product. It is available through Meeting Professionals International at www.mpiweb.org. The price for MPI members is $22.50 and for nonmembers, $31.50.
* Correction In CMI December 1999, the Daytona Beach Area CVB Web address was misprinted in the Florida Meeting Planner's Guide. For companies interested in the Daytona Beach area, the correct address is www.daytona beachcvb.org.
Coming in April
CMI's Annual Golf Issue
Course Trends: Emerging destinations, theme and replica courses, and more*
Doing Business on the Golf Course
Golf Event Planning Guide
Golden Links Directory