Christine Duffy (right) was named president and
CEO of Fenton, Mo.-based Maritz Travel, one of the largest
incentive firms in the industry, in October. Previously, she was
president of Maritz McGettigan, the Philadelphia-based meetings
firm Maritz acquired in 2001. M&C spoke with Duffy last month
about her plans and perceptions.
M&C: What are the biggest issues your incentive
clients are facing right now?
Duffy: The big challenge is to effectively manage
costs. Are they managing their spend, minimizing risk and managing
consistently and appropriately across the organization? How do they
ensure programs have quality and results?
M&C: What are Maritz’s challenges right now?
Duffy: To ensure our people are focused on helping
clients at the enterprise level. They need to work with
procurement, implement best practices and realize that behind each
event is a stakeholder whose entire focus is on that event.
M&C: What are some of your goals for Maritz?
Duffy: I would like to leverage the strength of
this organization. Maritz Inc. has seven companies [Maritz
Incentives; Maritz Interactions; Maritz Learning, which develops
training; Maritz Loyalty, which works with credit card companies;
Maritz Research; Maritz Rewards, for nontravel programs, and Maritz
Travel]. There’s a lot of synergy between the different areas that
our clients can benefit from. We also have an agenda for growth
into new markets, like tech and financial.
M&C: What trends will we see in 2005?
Duffy: Shorter lead times are still a reality. And
there is much more scrutiny about who gets invited to events. I
think there’s a more conservative selection of destinations right
now; companies must manage perceptions about incentive programs,
especially when they are downsizing.