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by Michael J. Shapiro | June 08, 2011

 Planners booked an average of 15 off-site meetings in the past 12 months, with an average booking window of about 36 days, according to a new survey on booking practices. The survey, commissioned by hospitality technology startup Zentila and conducted by the Y Partnership, was completed by 150 corporate meeting planners. In terms of what booking window constitutes a "short-term" meeting, the average response was just 13 days. More than half (53 percent) said it took them two to three days to find a meeting facility. "The number of short-term meetings is a far greater percentage of overall meeting demand than we ever expected," said Mike Mason, CEO and founder of Zentila. Other findings of note: Most planners (68 percent) have permission to sign off on short-term meeting contracts without approval from management, and 72 percent of planners will only consider upscale and luxury hotels for their short-term meetings. Those who can't find what they need are three times more likely to upgrade vs. downgrade their hotel choice. Zentila, a booking engine for meetings, is scheduled to launch next month and has been "zeta" testing with selected planners. The company’s technology is designed to connect planners directly with hotel venues and speed up the booking process.