November 12, 2003

The International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus has changed the dates of its 2004 annual convention in Boston to July 14-17. Previously set for July 17-20, the event is being bumped up because prep work for the Democratic National Convention, which takes place July 26-30, will begin during IACVB's original dates.

Thomas Mobley, general manager of Chicago's McCormick Place for the past 11 years, is taking the post of general manager and CEO at the Washington (D.C.) Convention Center Authority in December. At that time, McCormick's assistant general manager, David Causton, will helm the convention center until a successor is named.

Marriott International has launched the Look No Further Best Rate Guarantee. Starting Jan. 1, Marriott guarantees that customers booking a room using the worldwide reservations system or Marriott website will receive the best available rate at any of its properties except Ritz-Carlton and Ramada hotels. If anyone reserves a room and then finds a lower published room rate for the same hotel, room type and dates on another Internet travel site or through a travel agency or travel management company within 24 hours of making their reservation, the chain will match the room rate and give the customer an additional 25 percent off. The guarantee does not apply to customers booking through online providers that do not identify the hotel brand to the customer at the time of booking, such as Priceline and Hotwire, or to volume discounts and package rates.

Meeting Professionals International will hold a web conference Dec. 16 to address the growing role of corporate procurement departments in the meeting planning process. Presenters include executives from McGettigan Partners, Amway and American Express. The event takes place from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. Registration opens Nov. 16 and costs $149 for members and $199 for nonmembers. For more on procurement's growing role, see M&C's recent cover story.

The Transportation Security Administration is operating a pilot program that would bring private-company screeners back to airports. In a statement to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last Wednesday, Stephen McHale, deputy administrator with the TSA, said his organization is testing the use of private screeners at five airports. By Nov. 19, 2004, "any airport operator may apply to have screening performed by a contract screening company under contract with the TSA," he said. Private screeners will have to meet the same eligibility, training and performance requirements as TSA screeners.

The Convention Industry Council on Friday has approved two completed portions of the APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange) project, on industry terminology and history/post-event reports, respectively. The terminology glossary includes 3,780 entries and is posted online. The history section includes how-to information on putting together post-meeting reports. The APEX group also is working on best-practice guidelines for five other sectors of the industry: resumes and work orders, requests for proposal, housing and registration, meeting and site profiles, and contracts.

The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow will undergo a $590 million expansion next year. The project will add a 12,500-seat arena and gardens around Queens Dock (the site of the center); it is slated for a 2007 completion. The facility currently has 230,000 square feet of exhibit space and 16 meeting rooms.