Revisiting the Online Meeting Planner Property Review Concept

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I recently received a press release from a site called Event Library, which aims to be, well, a library of reviews by meetings professionals of the properties and services they've used. What a great idea, right? As the press release says, "Just as TripAdvisor shook up the holiday industry, it looks like the events industry is also due a revolution." But wait, didn't that revolution already happen?

I went back to an article we ran about five years ago that showcased four meeting planning review sites: The Meetings Intelligence Exchange, Meetings Collaborative, i-Meet, and Meeting Universe. So how are these sites doing today?

Meetings Intel appears to still be up and running, though a quick skip through the site didn't unearth a plethora of reviews. Meetings Collaborative is "down for maintenance," according to a note on the site. i-Meet has a ton of registered users on both the supplier and planner side, though I couldn't seem to find an easy way to find reviews, and none of the suppliers whose profiles I checked out had reviews attached to them. That one seems to be more of a social network than a review site per se. Meeting Universe didn't come up when I clicked on the link.

While general travel/hospitality/restaurant review site Yelp is growing like wildfire (with more than 36 million reviews at the end of 2012 and a 31 percent year-over-year growth in average unique monthly visitors), and TripAdvisor piling on 40 reviews a minute, why is it that this revolution for meeting planning review sites still appears to be waiting to happen? Requests for feedback on specific properties still pop up all the time on the industry listservs, and go to any meetings professional conference and conversation likely will center on experiences at various properties, so the need for personal recommendations still seems strong.

So, I guess I have to ask, do you use meeting planning review sites, either as a reviewer or as part of your site-selection process? If not, why not? It just seems like such a great concept that I don't fully understand why it doesn't appear to be following the growth arc of leisure travel sites. (I may be wrong and these actually are going great guns and I'm somehow not getting it—if so, please let me know that as well!)
 

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Apr 11, 2013

Sue, I believe we tried this type of review back even further, say the 1990s, when I was a senior meetings manager. Naturally, that was well before the advent of social media and the expansion of the internet for work use, but I think the issue is still the same.

If a meeting manager provides a less than favorable review of any meeting site publicly (even if it is anonymous, they'll know), that meeting site would be disinclined to work favorably with that planner or organization in rates, availability or on any other issue in the future.

Back then, it was all about win-win, but each win was skewed toward the meeting site (read: hotel industry) more often than not.

Perhaps its different now, but your article suggests that maybe, not so much.

Tom Carrier

on Dec 20, 2013

As the founder of MeetingUniverse I can tell you much of what we saw in trying to push the concept forward. Lots of lessons to be learned. AMA.

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