by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | January 01, 2006

In late 2005, Krisam Group, a Washington, D.C.-based site-selection firm, celebrated its 30th anniversary. M&C spoke with James Schultenover, president, about the company’s growth and its ongoing commitment to group business.

How does Krisam differ from a third party such as Conferon or HelmsBriscoe?
We are completely different. We are a member organization; when we place a client’s group business, it is with a member property. Also, because we have a small, carefully controlled membership, we know the properties very well.

Who are your members?
We have more than 200 three-, four- and five-star properties. We’re not interested in anything with a lower rating. We also have two sister companies: The August Jackson Co., a production firm, and Events Partners, our destination management arm, both of which complement our group services.

What type of business are you booking?
Mostly corporate groups training, board meetings, medical meetings. Around 40 percent of our business is 1,000 room nights or less. And 30 percent of our business is booked and completed in six months.

How is the nature of those bookings changing?
Contracts are becoming lengthier and more complicated. To move business quickly and get ahead of the whole legal process, we send out a client’s legal addendum in advance to our member hotels, so they can make sure there are no showstoppers if they take that business.

What’s new at Krisam?
We have a brand new website. Planners told us they needed practical information they weren’t getting at the hotels’ own websites, so now we provide information such as when the hotel was last renovated, its distance from the airport, room tax, food and beverage tax, its rating, and whether the property has won any awards for its spa, golf or meeting facilities.
Also, last July, we opened a London office, our second outside of the United States. The first office is in Brussels.