Many just hummed the theme to Don Quixote when the Convention Industry Council first brought up the idea of developing definitive best practices that could be standardized across the meeting industry five years ago. Now that the CIC has released preliminary recommendations in two of the seven areas it decided to tackle in its Accepted Practices Exchange Initiative—history and post-convention reports, and industry terminology—that dream’s not looking quite so impossible anymore.

Help with History
The APEX history/post-con report panel came up with 12 recommendations on how to improve the process of collecting, storing, and retrieving meeting history so everyone has a more accurate picture from which to plan future events. Some of the recommendations include: using the APEX PCR form for all meetings of more than 25 room nights; suppliers entering all history data within 60 days of the meeting’s close; planners reviewing the data within 90 days; and a full confirmation of the data by both parties within 120 days. It also suggested that the APEX PCR form be Web-accessible for ease of use, and that the online database be maintained by APEX, which because it comprises both planners and suppliers, can be considered a neutral party, according to the panel. Visit www.conventionindustry.org/apex/Panels/HPER_Prelim_Report.htm#Recommended for the full report and a sample copy of the APEX PCR form.

When is a CMP not a CMP?
The APEX terminology panel had no less a daunting task before them, sorting out the jingo from the lingo to come up with an official 2,376-entry industry terminology glossary. The main focuses were to make the definitions easy to understand; resolve conflicting definitions; and include all the meanings of a term within one entry (for example, CMP means both complete meeting package and certified meeting professional, two completely separate things). The panel recommended that the glossary remains online for ease of access, that it will be searchable both by entry and keyword, and that it would be updated regularly. The glossary is available for online review at www.unlv.edu/Tourism/apexc.

Your Opinions Count
Don’t worry if you disagree with some of the recommendations: None are set in stone. The CIC urges everyone in the industry to review the recommendations and provide comments and suggestions. Follow the links at www.conventionindustry.org to access the online comment forms for the different panel reports. Both panels plan to release final reports this summer.

Next up: the requests for proposals and resumes and work orders panels are swinging into gear, with preliminary reports scheduled for September 2002. The housing, contracts, and site profiles panels will follow shortly thereafter. As of now the CIC plans to wrap the whole process up within three years.