December 01, 1997
Meetings & Conventions: Real-Life Reviews December 1997 Current Issue
December 1997
Real-Life Reviews

What the true authorities -- current users -- have to say about today's meeting planning software


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! | MeetingPower | Meeting Pro | MeetingTrak | MeetingMatrix | 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. * S.B.


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