by Jonathan Vatner | March 01, 2006

chartThe Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX), the McLean, Va.-based Convention Industry Council’s effort to standardize meeting forms and procedures, is in full swing. Standards and templates have been created for many of the processes that planners go through; the final set of guidelines relating to contracts is in the process of being approved.
    At present, a set of the templates in Microsoft Word, called APEX OfficeReady for Meeting and Event Planning, is available to planners for $99; Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has purchased 4,000 copies to distribute to clients. 
    But are meeting professionals ready to adopt these practices? Given that more than half (54 percent) of the 423 planners surveyed last month do not think industrywide accepted practices are a feasible goal, it’ll take some convincing.
    Indeed, 77 percent of respondents don’t think one-size-fits-all forms would be able to describe the myriad variety of meetings, 44 percent anticipate that companies wouldn’t be able to agree on what the standards should be, and 31 percent think their organizations wouldn’t be willing to change the way they plan meetings. 
    Planners cite a number of other reasons why industrywide practices might not work, such as: “Any variance from standard will invite litigation,” “Current technology practices aren’t up to speed” and “Properties will not agree easily to conform.”
    On the positive side: 73 percent of planners think their firms could convert some or all forms to an industry standard, and 85 percent feel that accepted practices would benefit their firms. As one planner noted of the templates, “They are a little more cumbersome than I had expected, but I am converting my clients to them.”

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