By the end of the month, Meeting Evolution plans to launch the Professional version of its request for proposal and meeting management software.
The 10-month-old Overland Park, Kan.–based company released the standard version of its product, also called Meeting Evolution, in February, but the roots of the software go back more than seven years.
It was developed at Meeting Sites Resources, an Irvine, Calif.-based site selection and meeting planning company, by MSR’s executive vice president Rob Wilson, MCSE, and company partner Jennifer Brown, CMP. Brown has been with MSR since 1996 when she left her post as director of the Meeting Services Department at what was then Price Waterhouse LLP.
Wilson and Brown, who are still with MSR, launched Meeting Evolution last October to take the in-house software to the wider meetings market. “Meeting Evolution is the software that’s been running Meeting Sites Resources for the past seven years,” says Wilson.
Expecting to compete in thetechnology space with companies such as StarCite, Cvent, and Arcaneo, Meeting Evolution has a hotel database paired with an electronic RFP system that is APEX compliant. Accepted Practices Exchange, or APEX, is an initiative of the Convention Industry Council to develop and implement industry-wide accepted practices, including technology standards that will improve the exchange of data. Wilson, who serves on the APEX Technology Advisory Committee, says it’s the only RFP software that’s APEX compliant and notes that after the APEX upgrade in 2007, Meeting Sites Resources saw a significant improvement in hotels’ RFP response times.
The Meeting Evolution system includes supplier response reports, e-mail reminders to suppliers who haven’t responded, RFP response receipts, and other RFP management tools, but it also goes deeper into meeting management. Among the Professional version’s features will be management of meeting space and room block hold requests, tracking of meeting room assignments, side-by-side RFP cost comparisons, and portals that allow a meeting sponsor to view all their information.
An Enterprise version, due out by the end of the year, says Wilson, provides a number of additional-management and strategic meetings management tools.