March 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio March 2003 Current Issue
March 2003 Back to BasicsPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:

Back to Basics

By Sarah J.F. Braley


These Web sites are designed to help planners find the perfect venue often at no cost

Stocked with meeting-space specs, pictures, rates and more, the Web is a smart place to start the site selection process. The following list covers the most popular services, listed in descending order by the number of hotels in the database.

The granddaddy of the group is MPoint by Twinsburg, Ohio-based PlanSoft ( The company began in the mid-’90s, backed by several industry giants.

Number of hotels: 38,000 (more than 11,000 properties are international)

Number of suppliers (such as off-site facilities, A/V vendors, CVBs and entertainment): 35,000

Request for proposal process: The service is free to planners. If PlanSoft handles the RFP, it receives a commission from the supplier for placing the business.

Organizations that plan a number of events each year can buy PlanSoft’s Meetings Management Solution service. With this package, the organization’s preferred hotels can be tagged so the planner sees them first (or only) during the search.

RFP response time: Generally, someone will respond within 48 hours or as specified by the planner.

Formerly called Eventsource, ProcurePoint (, another full- service meetings management site, is still headed up by two former Hyatt executives, Pat Foley and Ed Sarraille.

Hotels: 38,000

Suppliers: none

RFP process: Once a planner fills out the RFP and chooses properties, the form is sent to a ProcurePoint account manager, who contacts the planner to discuss negotiation options. ProcurePoint offers two processes: closed-bid negotiations and open-bid reverse auctions.

The process is free for planners using the Meetings LT product; ProcurePoint receives a commission from the hotels for the service. Organizations that purchase the firm’s Enterprise Meetings package are charged a licensing fee for the software and a commission or transaction fee for the RFP service. RFP response time: With closed-bid RFPs, the company aims for a 48-hour turnaround time. For reverse auctions, hotels typically are given one to two weeks’ notice.

The Official Meeting Facilities Guide, a sister publication to Meetings & Conventions, offers hotel information and basic RFP services at its Web site,

Hotels: 17,000

Suppliers: none

RFP process: Properties that have supplied an e-mail address to which proposals can be sent also offer a link for planners The service is free, and OMFG does not receive any form of payment for successful transactions.

RFP response time: OMFG does not guarantee any response, as the RFP goes directly to the property and is not monitored by the site.

Site selection isn’t the focus of Philadelphia-based StarCite’s meetings management Web site (, but a planner certainly could use it for that purpose.

Hotels: 13,750

Suppliers: 40,000

RFP process: Planners send RFPs to the suppliers of their choosing; StarCite does not intervene in any way. Planners can send an RFP to the facility directly or to a national representative. Users also can create up to 20 Quick Pick lists and send RFPs to any or all of the members. For instance, they might compile a list of favorite national salespeople, or a list of properties in a particular destination. All of this is free.

As with MPoint, StarCite sells a corporate suite of meetings management tools that includes the ability for users to see preferred properties and contacts.

RFP response time: “As the channel, we do not guarantee a response time,” says David Marks, vice president of the online marketplace and supplier technology sales.

Back to Current Issue index
M&C Home Page
Current Issue | Events Calendar | Newsline | Incentive News | Meetings Market Report
Editorial Libraries | CVB Links | Reader Survey | Hot Dates | Contact M&C