The Convention Liaison Council (CLC) has taken the first step toward developing industry standards or recommended practices in the meeting, convention, and exposition industry by authorizing the hiring of a consultant with expertise in technology to examine the feasibility of the CLC undertaking such an effort.

Mickey Schaefer, CAE, vice president for membership, meetings and conventions, and administration, American Academy of Family Physicians, and president-elect of the Professional Convention Management Association, presented a proposal to the CLC House of Delegates on November 15 at the Sheraton Music City in Nashville.

Called the Meeting Industry Standards and Technology Initiative (MISTI), the proposal calls for standardizations in the following seven areas: meeting and site profile, terminology, meeting history and post-meeting report, resumes and BEOs (banquet event orders), housing, RFPs (requests for proposal)/booking inquiries, and contracts.

Her proposal suggests that the initiative be driven by the planner organizations on CLC, but ensures collaboration from suppliers and all constituent organizations of CLC. "The timing is right to embrace and drive technology, rather than it driving us," said Schaefer.

CLC legal counsel Jeffrey King said in order to ensure antitrust compliance, CLC should not call these standards, but recommended practices; that rates should never be discussed; that the process should be inclusive rather than exclusive; and that the practices be optional, not mandatory. The CLC Board will hire a consultant who report on the project's feasibility at the April meeting of the House of Delegates.