The Convention Industry Council (CIC) has launched a research study to quantify the time and cost inefficiencies of existing methods of exchanging 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. What this study will accomplish is to accurately quantify the cost. We think this is a multimillion-dollar problem annually."
The Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies at the University of Central Florida will conduct the research, which will be funded by major hotel chains Gaylord, Hilton, Marriott and Starwood.
Researchers will gather data and conduct measurements inside the convention service departments of the participating hotels. 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 results of this study will be of broad interest to the industry," Meyer said. "Whether your focus is more effective use of resources, improving customer satisfaction or implementing technology, you eventually end up at this process. This study may give entire the industry a new way to look at the problem and to work toward solutions."
Findings of the study are expected in the second quarter of 2011.