Building good meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) facilities and support services means repeat business. The Langham Hotels International started focusing on MICE in recent years and invested significant resources to drive more traffic. This year, the company launched takethelead.com, which is a dedicated, one-stop online event platform for meeting and event organisers. From the moment of conceptualisation to the event's completion, the medium takes care of the process of planning, logistics, venue, facilities, dining and even entertainment. In fact, takethelead.com was launched only after extensive global research to discover exactly what meeting planners wanted from hotels and their MICE facilities. 'It helps people find information easily and more importantly contact us easily, knowing that they would get a response within a set timeframe,' said vice-president of sales Alison Styles. 'There's also added value services such as the online Meeting Planners Academy - we recognise that a lot of meeting planners actually fulfil other roles within their company so this resource which pulls together ideas and best practice is good for them.' The programme features five Langham commitments. For example, the sales commitment ensures acknowledgement of the first enquiry within 90 minutes, to send an e-proposal within 24 hours and a pledge of quoted price guaranteed for 60 days. The online consultation forum has an online event resource centre for inspiration and ideas. A dedicated event specialist will assume personal responsibility of all aspects of your function to ensure that every single detail is taken care of efficiently and professionally. You may also have a post-event review to give evaluation. 'While it's convenient to put a shop window online, we believe that the core element remains service,' Ms Styles said. 'We have deliberately hired new senior staff in our properties to ensure that we can deliver on the takethelead promise.' Feedback has been encouraging with its meeting planners praising its ability to save time and also the ease to locate what they want quickly. 'In the past, people would specify their space and preferred set-ups [for instance, a U-shaped room/theatre style] and it would take a few hours to turn it around. Now they can see their options immediately on the website and get a proposal within the specific timeframe,' she said. The next stage of enhancement is planned with the offer of a dedicated event microsite which will be included in the package for event planners. This includes automated rooming lists and itineraries and information for the event. Other hotel groups tend to charge for this service.