At the Professional Convention Management Association’s annual meeting this week in Toronto, a new online tool to measure meeting performance was introduced, with PCMA members getting exclusive access through September 2007.

The tool, MeetingMetrics, allows users to conduct pre- and post-event surveys online, with the goal of determining attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of attendees. Developed by New York-based GuideStar Research, MeetingMetrics is the first online tool for measuring "return on event," said Deborah Sexton, PCMA president. And through a partnership between Guide Star and the ROI Institute, Birmingham, Ala., it can be used to facilitate the measurement of a meeting’s return on investment.

"Our CEO survey said that CEOs felt that meeting planners weren't strategic enough. This product hands strategy to planners," said Sexton at a press conference yesterday morning.

PCMA’s convention at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is the facility’s first "zero waste" international convention (its second zero-waste event ever). There are no garbage cans at the center this week, only recycling bins. All waste is being composted, recycled, or donated to charity or food banks at a cost of about $35,000 to the center, according to Barry Smith, MTCC president and CEO.

"Green meetings aren't a trend or a fad," said Bill Allen, president, Tourism Toronto. "They will be a fundamental part of meetings in the future." He believes that the center's recycling efforts give Toronto a competitive advantage. PCMA's Sexton commented that it’s important for PCMA to provide leadership and education on this important issue.

PCMA attracted approximately 3,100 people to its 51st annual meeting, its first outside the U.S. Official numbers will be available later this week.