PlanSoft Corp. and seeUthereTechnologies announced last week the merger of the two companies to create OnVantage Inc. The new company combines PlanSoft’s searchable database of hotels and meeting suppliers with a technology leader in corporate spend management solutions for meetings.
While the companies both offer an online registration product, John Chang, chief executive officer and president of seeUthere and now CEO of OnVantage, explains the fit between the firms. "There is actually very little overlap between the two companies," he says. "PlanSoft had done more than 90 percent of its business from its marketing suppliers, mostly hotel partners, through its public search function, whereas seeUthere had 95 percent of its business coming from corporations. So it’s a pretty powerful combination."
Through PlanSoft’s mpoint.com site, meeting planners can search a global directory of more than 70,000 meeting facilities and suppliers, many of whom buy a marketing package. Planners can also send online RFPs through the system, at no cost to them.
SeeUthere’s strengths lie in enterprise-wide visibility into all meeting-related activities and costs; end-to-end tools for sourcing, planning, and managing meetings, including attendee, room, and travel management; and standardized procurement tools and policy enforcement systems.
OnVantage consolidates the buying power of many of the Fortune 500 companies, according to Chang, and those companies "want better access to suppliers, a single capacity that includes Internet pricing, preferred pricing, and negotiated pricing, all internally. Because mpoint is such a heavily trafficked public site, hotels offer special deals," explained Chang. "We will now be able to offer those special deals to the corporate client, and take the public search and tailor it to the corporate client."
Chang added that any products that PlanSoft customers currently use will remain as long as customers want to use them, as will the companies’ two Web sites, in addition to the new OnVantage Web site.
Last month, seeUthere announced the integration of the seeUthere MeetingView software application with Web-based corporate travel booking tools—GetThere from Sabre Travel Network and Cliqbook from Outtask Inc.—to help corporations identify meeting-related travel expenses, negotiate group discounts, and ensure all meeting participants take advantage of those discounts.
David Hunt, chairman and chief executive officer of PlanSoft, will continue as chairman of OnVantage. Ed Tromczynski, founder, president and chief operating officer of PlanSoft, will serve as president of the OnVantage supplier division. Stanley Chin, chief operating officer of seeUthere, will become president of the OnVantage corporate division.
OnVantage will maintain its two principal offices: the Santa Clara, Calif., office of seeUthere will focus on the corporate market and will serve as the OnVantage headquarters, and the PlanSoft headquarters in Twinsburg, Ohio, will concentrate on the supplier market.