Thursday, May 17, 2007

2007 SGMP National Education Conference

On May 3rd I presented an educational seminar titled "Online Registration for Government Meetings: Compliance, Security, and APEX Standards for the Group Travel Industry" at the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) 2007 National Education Conference in Atlantic City. You can wait to learn about the session in the next issue of Advantage magazine, or read about it below.

Session Summary

This session discussed the past, present, and future of online registration. Event registration in the past made meeting planners the bottleneck in a cumbersome process as paper, phone, and fax registrations came in and were typed into a computer, while attendees waited for their confirmation letters to arrive via mail. We demonstrated features of modern online registration tools that provide a cost-effective path to attractive web sites, custom registration forms, integrated credit card processing, and instant email communication. Online registration is governed by many regulations and best practices, including data encryption using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance for credit card processing, American Disabilities Act (ADA) Section 508 compliance for equal opportunity, Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) regulations for privacy concerns, and the CAN-SPAM law for e-mail communication.

Lastly, we discussed the APEX initiative to produce open standards for electronic data transfer of event RFPs, rooming lists, and Event Specification Guides between meeting professionals and hotel suppliers. During the Q&A period, we discussed an analogy for the future world of instant and easy data exchange between hotels and meeting planners; APEX will be the un-seen plumbing in your housing, while software tools will be the faucet handle in your sink – offering a simple and intuitive way to get water. I encourage participants who wish to remain informed about the topics discussed in this session to subscribe to the speaker’s blog at

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