"Sometimes vendors lead you to believe things are possible that aren't here yet," says Cindy Stark, SIGGRAPH Convention Manager for Smith Bucklin Associates, Chicago.
"It's honest excitement on their part.But if you're someone like me, who's chomping at the bit for a better way to do things, you may think you can do everything they're talking about.But, unfortunately, that's not always the case."
What's possible todaySIGGRAPH went with Passkey.com in 1998, when 25 percent of the 7,900 attendee and exhibitor hotel reservations were made online, thanks to the technology-savvy computer graphics crowd."There were a lot of things to be worked out, but we knew that going in," Stark
says.The next year, SIGGRAPH signed a three-year contract with Travel Technology Group
, Chicago.For SIGGRAPH 2000, July 23–28, 2000, in New Orleans, 34 percent of reservations were made online.
Now that the system has matured, Stark
says the benefits are real."From an attendee standpoint, they get instant notification about their housing.They don't have to wait for the hotel to contact them," Stark
says."From show management's standpoint, the more people who use the online system, the quicker you have a better feel for where your housing numbers stand.From the hotel's standpoint, they have access to this information, so they can go online and see on a day-by-day basis, how their hotel is picking up."Stark
actively uses real-time reports to project housing needs before the cut-off date.Now, instead of "running scared" and adding a hotel prematurely, she
can tweak the block."What we've found is that hotels tend to work with us much more closely on adjusting individual days.It's made our relationship with hotels much smoother."
This is the scenario advocates envisioned would squeeze costs out of the system.