The Convention Industry Council announced yesterday it is conducting research to quantify the time and cost inefficiencies of how planners and suppliers exchange event specifications. "In the planning process for every meeting or event there are many transfers of information -- the event specifications, the BEOs, all the arrangements that need to take place," said Kimberly Meyer, founder and principal of Chicago-based Meetings Analytics and chair of the CIC's APEX Technology Advisory Council. "Despite all of our technical advances, this is largely still a manual, paper, e-mail and even fax-based process, with a high level of input and rekeying. Even though they're widely accepted, these business processes are frequently inefficient and inaccurate." Gaylord Hotels, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts are funding the research, which is being conducted by the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies at the University of Central Florida. "Our hope is that we can begin to identify solutions together through CIC's APEX initiative," said Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, who is CEO of the CIC. After gathering data from the convention service departments of participating hotels from the funding companies, the study will analyze processes from sales, through the planning cycle, to the delivery of the final product. Researchers will examine a variety of meeting and event types and profiles, including private social functions, corporate events, association meetings and components of citywides. The findings will be released in the spring.