Despite the fact that the Meetings & Exhibitions Technology Conference (METCON), held in Rosemont, IL, in April, was a technology conference, only 21 registrants, or about 4.4 percent, registered via the Internet. That's going to change, experts forecast. In five to six years, the Internet will replace the fax as the method for conference registration and room reservations, predicted Edward Harris, executive vice president, I.T.S. Inc., a housing company in Deerfield, IL.
How much is technology affecting the meetings industry now? Polled via IRIS, a computerized voter-response system, about 65 planners at METCON's second general session provided some clues:
* 40 percent use the Internet to research meeting sites.
* Of that 40 percent, 88 percent double-check information on meeting sites using another method.
* 81 percent do not use CD-ROMs for site selection, although 64 percent do have CD-ROM drives in their computers at work.
* 30 percent said that videoconferencing and other technologies are reducing the number of small meetings they hold.
* 81 percent did not offer online registration at their most recent annual meeting.