Last month, Maritz Travel, the Fenton, Mo.-based meeting and
incentive travel firm, acquired Experient, a major provider of meeting
and event services to associations, trade shows and the U.S. government.
a result of this deal, Maritz Travel will lead the industry in four key
areas -- corporate, association, trade show and strategic meetings
management," said Maritz president David Peckinpaugh, who took over the
helm of the company last May. "Coming together this way will fuel our
shared objective to grow in the markets we serve.
we will expand the capabilities we bring to clients beyond what either
of us might offer independently," Peckinpaugh added. "The event industry
has had to evolve as a result of a volatile business environment. Spend
is returning to pre-recession levels, and together Maritz Travel and
Experient are leading the market in delivering the flexibility and range
of services organizations need to achieve growing and increasingly
aggressive business results."
According to Maritz, the combined
business of the two firms last year represented more than 11,500 events;
6 million guest rooms booked, sourced or contracted; and $2 billion in
Experient will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of
Maritz Travel, and its CEO, Jeff Price, will step down. The merged
company now has more than 12 locations and a network of sales offices
across the United States. Currently, Maritz has 823 employees and
Experient has 540.
A spokesperson for Maritz told M&C
that Maxvantage, the strategic meetings management firm jointly run by
Maritz and American Express, will "continue to be a strategic alliance
between Maritz Travel and American Express Business Travel."
insiders see the move as a smart one on Maritz's part. "The merger
seems to be a very positive move for both organizations and follows the
general 'new economy' trend of organizations determining the best ways
to both expand and guard against future recession," said Melissa Van
Dyke, president of the St. Louis-based Incentive Research Foundation.
"Experient's focus on associations and trade shows seem to complement
Maritz's focus on corporate and incentive travel quite well."
LaManna, director of national accounts for eTech, an Orlando-based firm
that supplies technology solutions to the event industry, agrees.
"Maritz is not the same company it was five or 10 years ago," he said.
"It's still successful, but acquisition is sometimes quicker than
development, and Maritz surely sees value in offering their services to
the meetings management clients of Experient."