November 18, 2008 09:25 ET

i-Meet Launches: First Industry Specific Social Network

Global Community for Meetings and Events Industry Goes Well Beyond Social-Networking; Web2.0 Tools Power New Solutions

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - November 18, 2008) - StarCite founder and meeting industry veteran John Pino announced today the launch of i-Meet -- a global community for people who plan meetings and events. The site,, comes out of its beta phase approaching 2000 members in 47 countries around the world, validating the need for people in the hospitality industry to connect and collaborate with Web 2.0 tools (blogs, videos, groups, etc).

The i-Meet Offering

Tagged as an industry-specific social network, i-Meet is one of the first social sites that combines an industry community with a business overlay -- allowing its planner and supplier members to interact, while adding value through the ability to find relevant information and build new business and personal relationships.

As part of i-Meet, Pino has re-created his industry marketplace concept, connecting buyers and sellers:

Benefits to Planners

Planners enjoy a powerful combination of worldwide contacts, industry intelligence, supplier ratings by and for group planners, and the first e-RFIs (requests for information) that connect planners to over 50,000 group suppliers around the world. Paula Rigling, CAE, CM, President of Meeting Planning Professionals, Austin Texas, says, "I love that I can easily connect with people in this industry and control the contacts I choose to make. No other community offers the ability to tailor my 'friends' to those in my industry and furthermore to those whose services would be of interest to me."

Benefits to Suppliers

Suppliers get to be active at i-Meet as well. As its major value, i-Meet offers suppliers a place to meet planners from all over the world, to participate in feedback and industry groups, and to receive PQLs (permission-based, qualified leads). "Suppliers want more lead opportunities, particularly in this environment," said Pino, "and i-Meet connects its members with early-interest opportunities, and a chance to influence venues and locations before they finalize their decisions." Jacob Polster, Business Development Manager of the Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego, says, "i-Meet has provided a great landscape to meet qualified partners and makes long-distance networking pretty darn easy. The industry needed this!"

The i-Meet Business Model

There is no cost for planners or suppliers to join i-Meet as individuals. In addition, suppliers get free listings and an organization portal where they can manage their activity on i-Meet. i-Meet derives revenue from its media offerings, and the ability to generate leads in its community marketplace. Opportunities to promote, purchase media and see activity reports are also self-enabled at the site for suppliers.

i-Meet's Potential

"I'm very happy with what we've been able to deliver at," Pino explains, "and I'm even more excited about what we have planned for the future. Early feedback has validated the need for the global community, and we expect to continuously release new functions and new approaches to doing business."

i-Meet's Skills Marketplace is an example that's nearing completion, whereby planners can market their services to organizations, and organizations can publish project work opportunities for planners. "Project-based labor is growing tremendously in our industry, as organizations are forced to cutback on permanent staffing. While necessary in today's economic environment, we also see project labor as a critical trend going forward as organizations implement variable labor models. We want to enable that process for everyone's benefit." Independent meeting planners, wedding planners and even travel/meeting management companies have been looking for ways to optimize their role in this market for years.

i-Meet estimates that there are 1.4 million people who plan meetings and events in the US, and well over 5 million people worldwide. "I've learned a lot over the years about creating new eco-systems, and understanding what's still under-served. And I'm convinced that the industry will greatly benefit from our efforts. We expect i-Meet to become the pulse of a worldwide industry that is central to business success for organizations, and a vital part of what suppliers need to keep their bottom-lines healthy. And besides all of that, it's a place where we can all learn, meet people, and have fun. I say it's well worth the effort to make it happen."

Contact Information

  • For more information, contact:

    Chip Stockman
    E: Email Contact
    P: 610-999-2186 USA