The bad news in the tech stock markets has forced one meetings industry technology start-up to rethink its business plan.
The Official Travel Information Co., a for-profit organization spun off by the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus last summer as an electronic front door to more than 1,000 CVBs has dissolved its technology partner relationships and lost its CEO and only staff member, William Hanbury. Hanbury had left his post as president and CEO of the Milwaukee CVB in December to head up OTIC.
Seven technology companies, including StarCite, cvent, and Passkey, major technology players in the meetings arena, had initially agreed to invest in OTI, share revenues, and offer applications at a reduced cost to the IACVB member bureaus through reselling efforts. When another major technology partner, Across Media Network of Golden, Colo., backed out of its investment in late January, the other partnerships soon dissolved.
Barbara Brady, director of marketing and communications, IACVB, says, “Now we're going back to the drawing board to pinpoint services to offer to meeting planners and consumers from the site. Those services will revolve around what our members [bureaus] want. Then we'll then go out to the dot-com industry and look for partners who can offer those services. But those partners will not be asked to invest in us. Eventually we hope to offer a way to help our member bureaus track visitors to the site. So profiling of visitors will be key. We will maintain the Web site www.OfficialTravelInfo.com as a branding tool and as a Web site.”