APEX: A Playbook for the Meetings Industry

By Lynn McCullough Director of Meetings & Association Management, CMA Association Management | May 06, 2010

More time to think creatively. Less repetitive work to complete. The ability to establish better relationships with your customers and suppliers. Who in the meetings industry would not want to say they can achieve these on a regular basis? Thanks to the commitment of leaders from several different industry organizations united through the Convention Industry Council (CIC), the Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) provides professionals working in the meetings industry with much-needed resources and standards. But after the integration of APEX into our daily work lives, how useful is it? When is it referred to most and what parts still need work?

Let's first take a close look at what APEX is and the reason for its inception. APEX is an initiative of the CIC that brought together all stakeholders in the development and implementation of industry-wide accepted practices to create and enhance efficiencies throughout the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry. The CIC put together this initiative in consultation with 32 member organizations involved in the industry. Its main purpose, quite simply, is to streamline the meeting management process, increasing efficiencies and enhancing everyone's ability to "talk the same language." APEX guides and templates are available online at www.conventionindustry.org/apex or the APEX Meeting and Event Toolbox software can be purchased at the CIC website or through CIC affiliated organizations.

Planning inefficiencies have historically been created due to the complexity of an industry composed of buyers, sellers and third parties where interests do not always intersect and business practices do not always align. Past attempts have failed at creating industry standard practices because the agreed upon measures did not always incorporate input from all of the players in the planning process.

I recently had a chance to talk with some members of the Association for Convention Operations Management (ACOM) about APEX. How are these professionals from Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVB), Convention Centers and hotels utilizing APEX's practices and resources? Let's take a look at the core areas of APEX in relation to how they can be put to use.

The Glossary

Perhaps the most used part of APEX, the glossary should be frequently referenced to ensure that all parties are communicating in the same terminology. The online glossary, developed by the APEX Terminology Panel, is searchable by keyword and provides clear, comprehensive definitions for everything from a la carte to Zulu Time.

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