After years of development and testing, Data on Meetings & Events (DOME) is ready to roll out its event measurement system in January, according to Gary Grimmer, DOME chairman and chief executive officer of the Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The system tracks the hotels/room nights used by attendees during a convention (including those booked outside the block), as well as the airline/class of seat/flight segments booked by attendees. Armed with this data, convention organizers will have better negotiating clout with hotels and airlines, Grimmer says. And convention bureaus will have better history information on events.

Data is collected from delegates during the pre-registration and on-site registration process — without significantly slowing the latter down, Grimmer says. “The DOME system is built on the premise that if you want good data, you have to ask the delegates,” he says.

DOME's event management system has been beta-tested and proven successful at several large conventions, including the AsiaPacific Incentives & Meetings (AIME) conference and the annual meeting of the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, Grimmer says. Once DOME is released it will be offered free to meeting planners, congress organizers, and registration companies, provided the user becomes DOME certified. The fee for DOME certification is $500.

The first DOME certification seminar will take place in February in Melbourne at the AIME conference. Other DOME certification seminars will take place in several European cities, and also in San Diego in conjunction with the IACVB meeting on July 8, 2004. These seminars will train qualified specialists, called DOME Masters, to use the DOME system.

DOME is a private, not-for-profit foundation in Washington, D.C. It was founded and funded in 1997 by several industry organizations, including IACVB, the International Congress and Convention Association, and Reed Travel Exhibitions. Its mission is to improve the quality and accessibility of data on the global meetings industry.

After eight years at the Melbourne CVB, Grimmer will leave in January to start his own management firm, Grimmer & Associates, with DOME being one of his clients. Paul Flackett, who heads up Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events, will become the new DOME chairman.