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HEDNA and PhoCusWright Publish Small Meetings White Paper;
A Guide to the Migration of Real-time, Online Booking for
Group Rooms and Meeting Space

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Lisbon, Portugal, April 28, 2008 - HEDNA, the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association, in partnership with travel industry research company PhoCusWright Inc., today announced the publication of a white paper entitled, "Enabling the Online Marketplace for Meetings: A Toolkit." 

The report, published with supporting data from PhoCusWright's research, is a guide to the current state of technology in the rapidly evolving group online marketplace and to understanding the current opportunities and challenges that exist. The Toolkit helps hotels and others assess readiness for deployment of an online group marketing strategy offering real-time booking of meeting facilities, simple catering, audio visual equipment and group rooms.  It also serves as a practical resource for planning an online booking solution for small groups and simple meetings of up to 75 attendees.

The Toolkit is based on study by the HEDNA Group Online Committee, which includes over a dozen leading hotel, travel distribution and technology professionals, as well as research by PhoCusWright.  Led by co-chairs John Arenas, CEO - Worktopia, and Scott Harness, co-founder and Executive Vice President - GTP Travel Group, HEDNA's Group Committee finds that the technology to enable online booking of meeting facilities and group room nights by hotels is now in place, although not yet in a single online session. The report describes the current balance of interests between customers' needs for visibility, control and access to preferred programs compared with hoteliers' needs to optimize revenue, and control distribution of availability of guest rooms and meeting space. 

With more than two-thirds of U.S. corporate meetings having 50 or fewer attendees, according to PhoCusWright research, the opportunity for online automation of the process of searching, comparing and acquiring space and services for small meetings has never been more compelling.  With the technology available today, meeting planners can already book meeting space, group room nights and manage attendees in real time. The new white paper examines the question of how fast the online migration will take place and how the balance of interests among corporate and leisure group meeting planners, travel distribution systems and hotels will evolve - a similar situation faced when hotel guest room booking moved online.

"HEDNA is pleased to lead the way with more groundbreaking insight into this huge opportunity for our members and for the travel industry in general," said Tiffany Topcik, Senior Vice President of Lanyon, who serves as HEDNA President.  

Bruce Rosard, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, PhoCusWright, added "This report presents practical information and research findings in a way that can be easily used by hoteliers, corporate meeting planners and technology providers to understand how to participate in this marketplace." 

For more information, or to view the white paper, 
please e-mail Abby Ray at aray@bridgeny.com.

About HEDNA 
The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) is a not-for-profit trade association whose worldwide membership includes executives and managers from over 200 of the most influential companies in the hotel distribution industry. Founded in 1991, all of HEDNA's activities are intended to stimulate the booking of hotel rooms through the use of GDS, the Internet and other electronic means. HEDNA brings all segments of the hotel industry together to evolve systems and services into electronic distribution that is easy and efficient. Additional information on HEDNA is available by calling +1 202-204-8400 or by visiting www.hedna.org. 

About PhocusWright
PhoCusWright is the travel industry research authority on the evolving dynamics that influence how travellers, suppliers and intermediaries
connect. Independent, rigorous and unbiased, PhoCusWright enables companies to make smart, profitable decisions.   PhoCusWright provides global marketplace intelligence, offering an array of qualitative and quantitative research through subscription services, individual reports and sponsored assignments. Areas of emphasis include consumer travel planning behavior as well as industry segmentation, sizing, forecasting, trends and analysis. Clients represent all facets of the industry value chain from around the world.  The company is headquartered in Connecticut, USA, with offices in New York, Duesseldorf and Mumbai. 

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Contact:

Hope Mathis
HEDNA Associate Director
hmathis@kellencompany.com
+1 202-207-1125

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Also See: Recaping HEDNA's Lisbon Conference; Technology, Customer Expectations, Environmental Issues Driving Near-Term Decision Making for Electronic Distribution / May 2008
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