SICK OF SPONSORING cold convention breakfasts and busy coffee breaks? Veterinary Learning Systems of Trenton, N.J., wanted to build awareness of its new Web site and found an unusual--and fitting--sponsorship opportunity at the North American Veterinary Conference held in January at the Orlando (Fla.) World Center Marriott Hotel.

Tom McCabe, VLS's director of video and advanced media, planned on simply setting up a number of computers on the show floor to demo the new Web site. However, when he visited the property and spied its six, public, T1-speed Internet kiosks all located on the convention level, he cooked up another idea. He contacted the company that runs the kiosks--Orlando-based e-port Public Information Net-work--and negotiated a deal to give attendees free Internet access during the five-day event.

The vet show draws more than 12,000 attendees, and about 2,500 users stepped up to a terminal to check their e-mail or log on to the Internet. "Those kiosks were mobbed," says McCabe. The VSL Web site averaged 9,000 to 10,000 hits per week before the conference, bumped up to 60,000 hits during the show, and, hung on to the momentum, with about 18,000 to 20,000 hits a week in the four weeks after the event.

McCabe says he's likely to sponsor the kiosks again at next year's show. For more information, visit www.eport.net.--Susan Hatch

Tips * Make your Web site the default home page at the kiosk.

* Promote your site on the kiosk's screensaver

* Customize your Internet access cards.

* Create opportunities for sponsorship partners; for instance, imprint their names on the access cards or give them banner ads on your Web site.

CME Briefs SLACK AWARDED ACCREDITATION Slack Incorporated has been awarded a four-year term of accreditation by the Accreditation Council for CME. With offices in Thorofare, N.J., and Washington D.C., Slack is well-known in the medical education field as an association management company and publisher.

The 40- year-old firm has also moved into the burgeoning field of technology-based education. With its new status, Slack plans to offer CME enduring materials on CD-ROM, as well as provide online CME.

"We are excited about using our high-tech capabilities to provide easily accessible CME activities," says president Peter Slack. For more information. visit www.slack.inc.com.

Ben Franklin started the technology craze with that famous kite-flying in 1752. Above, he chats about July's MPI meeting in Philadelphia with Edward Simeone, CMP, MPI chairman of the board-elect, and manager of worldwide events, EMC Corp.

E-Connections MPI GIVES PLANNERS THE TECH-EDGE Meeting Professionals International's Professional Education Conference (PEC) held in late January in Vancouver is a perfect example of how in-person meetings can never be replaced by technology. A technology education track and a live Webcast of the opening and closing sessions were just two examples of how important technology has become to the meetings industry, but the experience of the record-breaking 2,185 attendees networking, learning, and being inspired--not only by dozens of excellent pre- senters but by the awesome beauty of the British Columbian coastline--could hardly be replicated online.

The conference's theme, a Whole New Ballgame, was underscored by the association's commitment to technology. MPI announced new business alliances with several technology partners:

* TechEdge. As a result of a new private labeling agreement with PlanSoft Corp., visitors to MPI's Web site (www.mpi.org) now have access to PlanSoft's facility database and electronic RFP service.

* Fusion Productions, the Webster, NY-based production/event company, and creator of MPI's Web site is offer-ing MPI members discounts on Web-related services, including Web site development.

* Eastman Kodak Company has become "an affinity partner." Kodak's "Meeting-in-a-Box" offers members the ability to purchase a package of products tailored to specific meeting needs. And Kodak will form a focus group of MPI members to develop new products for meetings and presentations.

* Through an arrangement with broadcast.com, the company that broadcast highlights of the Vancouver conference live on the Internet, MPI members are entitled to a 10 percent discount on live and archived meetings designed for the Internet or reproduced and broadcast live.--Betsy Bair

Convention Clout DELEGATE DOLLARS COUNT The International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus has released the results of its 1998 convention income survey, conducted by Deloitte & Touche, LLP, an accounting and consulting firm. The participating 99 bureaus in the U.S. and Canada each surveyed up to 12 meetings from June 1997 to May 1998. CVBs sent questionnaires to delegates, exhibitors, and meeting planners.

* Delegates spend an average of $696 per event, or $231 per day, for a three-day meeting.

* About half of delegate spending goes toward lodging, while another quarter is spent on food and beverage.

* Associations/event sponsors spendan average of $68 per event for each delegate.

"What do Nike, Coca Cola, and CME have in common? Not enough."

--David A. Shore, PhD, MM columnist and marketing expert, stressing the importance of branding at the Alliance for CME conference. For more on the Alliance, see pages 15 and 36.

"Where did ten percent commissionscome from? The Bible--you know, tithing."

--Sylvia A. Rottman,

president, Great Events, and TEAMS, Denver, during a PCMA session on third parties. For more on PCMA, see page 16; for an analysis of third-party services, see page 49.

Deals Down Under AIME GOES GLOBAL For the first time since its inception eight years ago, the Asia Pacific Incen-tives and Meetings Expo (AIME '99) accepted exhibitors outside the Asia Pacific region at the February trade show, held at the Melbourne Exhibition & Conference Center (MECC). The show attracted a record 3,000 delegates, hosted buyers, and visitors.

Industry experts concurred there was a crisis in the Asia/Pacific region, but encouraged planners to take advantage of the exchange rates and suppliers' willingness to "make a deal." The buyer's market is expected to continue in the region for the next few years.

QANTAS Airlines, a major sponsor of AIME, hosted the U.S. buyers. The airline is currently upgrading its cabins and services.--Jonathan Kean

"We all recognize the power of global branding to reach corporate America. It's kind of like McDonald's."--Chris White, founder, chairman, and CEO of the new DMC consortium, Global Events Partners

New Resources KRISAM EXEC LAUNCHES DMC CONSORTIUM--MCDONALD'S STYLE Tired of searching for a quality DMC every time you take a conference to a new destination? Chris White, founder, chairman, and CEO of the recently launched Global Events Partners (www.globaleventspartners.com) in Washington, D.C., says he has a solution. He founded the Krisam Group, a hotel rep firm, 24 years ago, and now he says it's time to apply that concept to DMCs.

White has formed a consortium of 24 (eventually 50) independently owned DMCs from around the world, and plans to promote the GEP brand as a place to find a consistent level of high-quality service. "We all recognize the power of global branding to reach corporate America," White says. "It's kind of like McDonald's, where brand is most important."

Why a DMC consortium? Planners today want unusual, tailor-made events, but their method for organizing those events is backwards, White says. Planners tell him, "We want to spend $3 million to bring our best clients to London." Wrong approach, says White. "Forget London. Start with, we want to entertain our best clients." Once a planner's objectives are mapped out, GEP will come back with proposals from destinations that fit the bill.

The service is free to planners. Member DMCs pay GEP a monthly marketing fee, plus an incentive based on the value of the business GEP refers to them. (White would not reveal the exact figures.) White has also brought in vendors as allied partners, such as Caribiner, an event production firm.

GEP's model seems to be a trend. Production Group International, Arlington, Va., for example, a conglomerate of production companies, DMCs, and trade show organizers, also markets itself as a one-stop shop. Will GEP compete with PGI? Says White, "There's no question we will."