Holly Hilliard, who organizes software training seminars, recently had an inspiration. Why is it, she wondered, that meeting rooms don't have an SOS device for when something goes wrong? Sure, you can pick up a phone or leave the room to hail someone on a walkie-talkie, but that can be disruptive. Hilliard envisioned something much more unobtrusive and immediate. You might call it a panic button. She calls it the Meeting Monitor.
Hilliard and her husband, Steve, general manager at the Radisson Hotel Philadelphia Northeast, created Meeting Monitor, a handheld wireless device. It's basically a tiny, programmable FM transmitter that pages a specific conference services or AV manager. While it would be convenient if a planner could arrive on site and hand out the transmitters and monitors, the system must be purchased and put in place by a hotel. (Not surprisingly, the first one was installed at Steve Hilliard's property last spring.)
Systems start at $1,999, large enough to monitor five meetings. The largest system can monitor 64 meetings. Contact HH Technologies at (609) 488-8255 or visit www.meetingmonitor.com.
* The more than 650 hotels and resorts that now fall under the Starwood name can be found at one Web site: www.starwood lodging.com. Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, and Caesars properties can now be booked via the Starwood site. Photos and floor plans for all hotels are available online, and meeting planners can access and fill out an online Request for Proposal.
* The 1999 president of the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives is Wendy Moffatt, managing director of Spectra Travel England, Ltd., based in London. Tassq Pappas, CITE, is the president-elect. He is managing director of CIB Performance in Brussels, Belgium.