The Work of the APEX Technology Advisory Council
By Rob Wilson
This article focuses on the APEX Technology Advisory Council (TAC) and the work of this council to facilitate systems talking to systems that will bring the vision of APEX to reality.
The APEX (TAC) is made up of experts from the commercial software development community, hotels and other suppliers to define the technical standards needed to implement the business standards defined in the seven practice areas. This group is making great strides in defining the data schema, message types and standards. The TAC is creating tools that enable low-tech and high-tech users to benefit from using the accepted practices.
The beauty of the work of the TAC is that the data specifications are not software dependent. In time a planner may be able to use the APEX Toolbox™ Microsoft Word template and the hotel could use its property management system (mapped to the forthcoming APEX data schema) and electronic data exchange occurs.
APEX TAC is aligning itself with related standards organizations to ensure consistency of technology standards in the future, particularly:
• OTA (Open Travel Alliance) focuses on the individual and group traveler
• HTNG (Hotel Technology Next Generation) focuses on the hotel sector
The following function areas are being worked on by members of the TAC. The Single Facility RFP has gotten the most focus because it is step one in the process of using automation to realize the efficiencies that technology can bring to the meetings industry.
Single Facility RFP
The Single Facility RFP is the process of gathering the meeting specs ( meeting dates, room block, meeting space information, location, etc ). Typically this information is coming via email to the hotels in many different formats (online, word, pdf, excel,etc).
Once the facility has been determined for the meeting, registration is the next step. The rooming list is what is generated from the registration process.
Event Specifications Guide
The ESG replaces the Resume and BEO and is the industry’s tool to use in preparing and sharing complete instructions and details for events.
The end goal of APEX is to have the information being passed from system to system and eliminate the manual entry of data multiple times for the same meeting. This is done by first defining the data schema, then defining the messaging standards, and lastly building tools to translate the messages to and from existing legacy applications.
In the last article I will be focusing on the Single Facility RFP. The Single Facility RFP is step one in the process of making all the other steps automated.