July 30, 2008

Tech provider Worktopia launched its Universal Meeting Solution Monday at the National Business Travel Association Convention in Los Angeles. The new online platform allows planners to search for and book meeting venues, arrange for audiovisual equipment and catering, and book group accommodations through a central portal. Some attendee management capabilities also are provided, using an engine provided by SignUp4.com. A corporate edition (UMS-CE) allows companies to load negotiated rates into the platform. That edition currently powers the meetings tab in Worldspan Trip Manager and will launch in GetThere's booking platform by the end of 2008.

Meetings technology company StarCite has launched the Group Rate Advisor, which provides rate forecasts for planners based on aggregated data from the requests for proposal that are generated through StarCite's online platform. Using actual responses to electronic RFPs, as well as historical trend data, the Group Rate Advisor gives planners an idea of the venue pricing they can expect in a given market. The company also released two tools aimed at small- to mid-market companies -- StarCite Professional and StarCite Express.