Meetings & Conventions: Real-Life Reviews December
What the true authorities -- current users -- have to say
about today's meeting planning software
BY SARAH J.F. BRALEY
Choosing meeting planning software is like committing to a blind
date: Until you're in the thick of it, you won't know whether your
instincts steered you awry. If only you could talk to folks
actually using those programs to plan meetings (or your date's
former sweethearts) before you took the plunge.
We won't play dating service, but for those in the market for
software, M&C tracked down users of six of the more
popular packages and asked them to share their experiences, for
better or for worse. Note: These programs are relatively young, and
designers are constantly upgrading them.What they said about:Great Meetings!
| Meeting Pro
| Room View
The Right Hardware
In general, you'll need a PC with a 486 chip or better (a
Pentium processor is recommended), at least 16 megabytes of RAM and
12 MB of free hard-disk space (more for Great Meetings! and
MeetingTrak) running Windows 3.1, Windows 95 or Windows NT, plus an
SVGA or better video driver and monitor.
Keep These Other Options in Mind...
Planners have plenty of software options beyond the six
offerings featured in our cover story. Following is a sample of
products marketed by travel agencies and other suppliers.
Infocentre Travel Systems (416-203-3829) sells
confoRM for managing all types of events. The
software costs $9,000 for three concurrent users, plus a yearly
$1,350 maintenance fee.
CORE Discovery 5.0 from McGettigan Partners
(215-422-1348) handles all meeting planning tasks and runs on the
Internet, LANs and intranets. Cost is negotiable based on a
client's meeting agreement.
iMIS by Advanced Solutions International, Inc.
(800-727-8682), is a graphically oriented association management
system for Windows and Macintosh, with optional modules for
membership, dues, subscriptions, meetings and more. Cost is
determined by number of users and number of modules chosen.
A room-setup program called Optimum Settings is
sold by CEO Software (800-441-2581). Single-user price is $495, LAN
version $2,250; both come with multimedia capabilities.
The Conference Works' Sentient (773-276-3442)
is a meeting-management system customized to your office's needs
and capabilities. No two packages look alike; cost is based on how
long it takes to design the product for you.
Coming in March is Ajenis by PlanSoft
(330-405-5555), which will handle every meeting detail. Ajenis is
being backed by Hyatt Hotels Corp., ITT Sheraton, Marriott
International, Meeting Professionals International and the American
Society of Association Executives, and will be priced under $500. *
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