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Mice Net : August 2008
eventconnect’s second coming STORY BY LAUREN MANGIONI ExcitEmEnt is growing at Eventconnect.com as the online venue and service search tool prepares to launch its upgraded version. he launch in early August will offer more user-friendly features that are sure to wow and impress the thousands of visitors who use the website to check availability and source venues and business event products. The current website, launched in 2004, attracts more than 12,000 visitors per month who can search for venues and products from four major regions across the Asia Pacific including Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Asia. The website is being revamped to keep up with the needs of buyers who are looking for advanced search capabilities, comprehensive content that is easy to navigate and presented in a clean, consistent format, as well as having access to tools that will save time and enable online collaboration with their peers. EventConnect.com managing director Steve Coombes says the new initiatives are aimed at improving the useability of the site. “Many people would have heard the term ‘Web 2.0’ and ‘social networking’ which are essentially terms to describe websites that allow user-generated content and the ability to share information,” Mr Coombes said. “EventConnect.com is endorsing and incorporating the trend by introducing the use of Web 2.0 functionality with EC2.” One of the more prominent new features Mr Coombes anticipates EC2 users will enjoy is the ‘preferred supplier’ function that will allow buyers to interact with the website by personalising their results with preferred supplier tags (a PS icon). Additionally, they will be able to add personal notes to each listing, and perhaps most importantly, users will have the capability to develop a ‘group user account’ to share this information with fellow group members in a secure online environment, assuring online privacy. T Comparing venues will also be easier and less time-consuming with day delegate and residential conference rates listed in the search results. By simply hovering over the rate more information is provided to detail the package inclusions. Hot Specials will also be viewable, with the ‘hover over’ functionality making it even easier to decide on which venues to shortlist into the ‘enquiry basket’. Once a short list is complete buyers then have two options to send their enquiry directly to the venues or services via the request for proposal (RFP) form or via a simple email template. Once launched the buyer can log in at any time to check the progress of their enquiry, read responses and see who has ‘accepted’ or ‘declined’ based on their availability. What’s more, any suppliers that do not respond in time will receive the enquiry via fax! Listings plus And it’s not just buyers benefiting from the new and improved interactive website, with the changes also offering sellers the opportunity to enhance their web listing with EC2’s new download feature so sellers can provide information such as PDF conference kits, floor plans and wedding packages, an extensive image gallery and upgraded statistics reports. The team behind the website say that their main focus has been to build this latest version of EventConnect.com with architecture to support the new functionality and the ability to grow as the needs of the industry determine. Mr Coombes said while there may be more work to do before EventConnect.com takes on the world users should be very happy with the latest upgrades. mice.net 43