Poorly purchased and tracked meetings can cost companies millions of dollars. At last, there are a number of Web-based tools for tracking, monitoring, and consolidating meeting spending. Here are the top ones.
B-there is the newest player, having just launched an application called OneForm for enterprisewide meeting consolidation and collaboration. Features include an event calendar that provides a consolidated view of all the company's meetings; collaboration tools for departments to set meeting objectives and evaluate event ; a vendor management system that can be shared companywide; expense tracking and budget reconciliation tools; and site selection tools.
Get There Direct www.getthere.com (formerly Allmeetings)
GetThere is a subsidiary of Sabre, the world's largest computerized travel reservation system (which also owns Travelocity). Right now, it is marketed only to large corporations already using Sabre for travel procurement.
PlanSoft's Meeting Management Solution offers a comprehensive suite of consolidation modules. MMS features include online search and site selection tools, online RFPs, and a centralized sourcing process that drives business to preferred facilities and suppliers with tools to monitor compliance.
ProcurePoint (www.procure point.com.) (formerly EventSource)
ProcurePoint's main focus is online procurement of hotel lodging. Features include an extensive site selection database, to which clients can add preferred vendors; a standardized RFP and process; and the ability to compare budgeted hotel spend to actual spend. There is also an option for centralized meeting department oversight of “admin” planners. It's best known for its open bid process, allowing hotels to bid online in real time for meetings requiring lodging.
SeeUthere is primarily designed for large corporations that wish to establish companywide meeting spend controls. Central to SeeUthere's strategy is defining the expense process. This system enables companywide enforcement, pre-meeting approval process, and compliance tracking in a manner similar to travel or office supply procurement.
StarCite was one of the first online providers to use meeting consolidation techniques. It has an experienced senior management team, and its approach is as much consultative as technology-based. StarCite claims to have a “truly integrated” meeting platform, including procurement, attendee management, and group air,with a true two-way data flow of air reservations. Its two-year partnership with Cardinal Communication and its recent purchase of the RegWeb product round out its capabilities. StarCite offers a database of 53,000 suppliers, and its combined buying power sources more than 1.5 million rooms annually.
Corbin Ball, CMP, is a speaker, consultant, and writer focusing on technology for events and meetings. You can contact him through his Web site, www.corbinball.com.