Disappointed with the room rate quotes you've been receiving from resorts lately? A new company wants to help. It's called the Resort Meetings Consortium (RMC), and it promises you the lowest group rates available during your meeting dates.

"There are consortiums in every other industry but the meetings industry," says Jerry Janove, vice president of sales and cofounder of the Cherry Hill, NJ-based company. "It makes sense because the dollar volume of meetings is just as high as other industries." Now that planners find themselves working in a hotel seller's market, he adds, "they need to band together to show their strength."

Here's how RMC works: The consortium earns a ten percent marketing fee from the resort (based on total room revenue), and then passes on 10 to 25 percent of that fee to the group, depending on how many meetings the group books.

Membership in RMC is $495 per year, a fee planners don't have to pay up front. "We want planners to use us first to see if we do what we say we can do," Janove says. Planners can de- duct their membership fee from revenues earned through RMC's revenue-sharing program.

RMC offers a range of services, including site selection and program guidance. Staff members will negotiate resort contracts and handle negotiations with other suppliers. A newsletter keeps members updated on resort renovations and value dates.

All RMC staff members come from resort or hotel backgrounds and capitalize on their long-term industry relationships. Janove, for example, is an 11-year veteran of hotel sales and marketing, most recently serving as vice president of sales for the Grand Wailea Resort, Hotel & Spa on Maui.

Another purchasing consortium, founded for business travel but which has group travel applications, is Business Travel Contractors Corporation (BTCC) in King of Prussia, PA. "Consortiums are the wave of the future because they are the only way for the buyer and the seller to jointly attack the cost of distribution," says BTCC President Kevin Mitchell. BTCC's 44 member companies purchase $1 billion in business travel annually. One major airline--Southwest--and two regional carriers have signed on to offer BTCC's mileage-based "business contract fares" in exchange for a guaranteed volume of business. In the future, Mitchell says, BTCC plans to secure volume deals for member companies buying hotel rooms and renting cars. -Tamar Hosansky