event planning

Maritz Travel Acquires Experient

May 31  |  meeting and event industry news  |   Andrew Maxwell

Maritz Travel, a global leader in providing full-service meeting, event and incentive travel programs to corporate clients, recently announced it has acquired Experient, another top provider of meeting and event services to associations, tradeshows, corporations and the US government.  As two of the largest and most respected companies in the meetings and events industry, Maritz and Experient now will expand their collective ability to deliver a full range of exceptional event experiences.

“As a result of this deal, Maritz Travel will lead the industry in four key areas – corporate, association, tradeshow and strategic meetings management. Coming together this way will fuel our shared objective to grow in the markets we serve,” said David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel. “By combining, we will expand the capabilities we bring to clients beyond what either of us might offer independently.”



Maritz’ end-to-end service delivery model will be enhanced by Experient’s ability to provide additional full and select services (including registration, housing, site sourcing/contract negotiation and lead retrieval).  As a result, the combined companies will be able to tailor services that better align with clients’ specific needs.  Clients also will benefit from 12 regional locations, deepened industry influence and the ability to serve clients across corporate, association, tradeshow and government markets.

Business Event Industry Leaders Join to Provide Full Spectrum of Meeting and Event Solutions

Maritz Travel and Experient are long-time leaders in the business events industry.  While individually they represent significant business event market share – and lead industry innovations such as a model approach for client- and audience-centric experiences – together, they are even stronger.  In 2011, their combined impact represented more than $2 billion in industry volume spend and nearly 3 million travelers served.

“Both Maritz Travel and Experient have been stable and innovative forces on behalf of our clients over the challenges of the last few years,” said Peckinpaugh. “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.”

“This is a great day for Experient employees and our clients.  I’m particularly excited about the cultural fit between Maritz and Experient,” said Jeff Price, CEO of Experient, who has shepherded this acquisition by Maritz Travel. “Our companies share core values, especially our commitment to helping clients achieve better business value by delivering exceptional event experiences for their participants.”

As a result of the acquisition, Price will be stepping down, and Experient will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Maritz Travel.


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Incentive Travel Exchanges Sells out Supplier Positions for Fifth Consecutive Year

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April 20  |  meeting and event industry news  |   Andrew Maxwell

Global Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchanges (GMITE), a division of Questex Hospitality + Travel, announced that it has sold out supplier positions for the fifth consecutive year for its flagship event, Incentive Travel Exchange (ITE), held in partnership with Site. The seventh annual ITE, being held from June 17-19, 2012 at THE hotel at Mandalay Bay, brings together top-producing incentive buyers and global suppliers for three days of high-caliber networking. A wait list is available for suppliers looking to participate.

“Selling out for the fifth consecutive year is an amazing testament to the strength of Incentive Travel Exchange and the relationships that result from attendance,” states Danielle Cirami-Gillis, global event director, Global Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchanges. “Year after year, the event receives high marks from supplier partners because of the interactive format that mirrors the incentive-quality experience our delegates create for their clients.”

The suppliers in attendance at ITE will include the most sought after incentive destinations across the globe including: hotels and resorts, spas, destinations, cruise lines, tour operators, destination management companies and more. For the complete supplier list please visit the event website. Applications for supplier positions at sister event, Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange (CMITE) are being accepted. For information on joining the ITE wait list or applying for CMITE, please contact Danielle Cirami-Gillis.

Applications for 2012 fully-hosted buyer positions are extremely limited and are being accepted online at IncentiveTravelExchange.com. Buyers who book domestic and international incentive programs are encouraged to apply immediately as buyer interest is at an all-time high. Interested buyers may also contact buyer relations director, Cindy Binder at 914-400-6648.

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Nutritious becomes Delicious at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

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March 8  |  meeting and event industry news  |   Andrew Maxwell

photo by everyonesanoriginal.com

With a belief that eating well but wisely begins at an early age, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will be ramping up its children’s menu offerings to include an expanded array of creative dishes that are both delicious and nutritious.

No Kidding: Fairmont Hotels and Resorts New Menus Offer Healthy Dining For Young Travellers

With a nod to the brand’s Lifestyle Cuisine, that addresses common dietary requests such as low-fat, vegetarian and low-carbohydrate, these new children’s menu options offer a healthy twist on the usual kid-friendly favorites such as chicken strips, pizza, spaghetti with meatballs and even chocolate mousse.  More discerning young diners can choose offerings such as The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa’s Loch Duart Salmon with Glazed Vegetables or Chicken Quesadillas with Corn Tortillas and Oaxaca Cheese at Fairmont Mayakoba.

Fairmont Chefs ensure these pint-sized offerings reflect the same basic principals as Lifestyle Cuisine and address the nutritional guidelines established for children by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.  Proactive steps include swapping out refined flour for whole wheat, incorporating fruits and vegetables into recipes to help meet the recommended daily fiber allowance, and employing alternative cooking methods to help ensure healthier choices are made available to young diners.  Although the same nutritional parameters guide Fairmont chefs across the globe, actual menu offerings reflect the distinctive style and unique food products of each destination.

“In addition to adapting many favorite dishes to a healthier format, we have introduced new menu items created by our chefs under the watchful eye of Fairmont Nutritional Advisor Katya Baxter, MBA, RNCP, a leader in the culinary field.” says Mariano Stellner, Fairmont’s Corporate Director, Food & Beverage.  “We are focusing on delicious, wholesome menu options parents want their children to have and that kids will actually eat.”

While these nutritious selections will be available at all Fairmont hotels by the end of March 2012, many properties have already begun sharing their healthy cuisine expertise within their local communities.  Fairmont Monte Carlo in Monaco introduced their Little Chefs program in 2010 and to date has taught over 60 public school students about seasonality, nutritional values and how to prepare their favorite foods.  Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa’s sponsorship of the agricultural program at a local high school sees the hotel’s culinary brigade participate in and lead tutorials on campus, and Fairmont Pittsburgh recently established a partnership with Grow Pittsburgh that will turn an inner city school yard into an edible garden and result in the hotel’s kitchen team teaching students how to grow, harvest and cook fresh vegetables.

A pioneer when it comes to promoting healthful options for youngsters, The Fairmont Olympic Hotel’s Executive Chef Gavin Stephenson took healthy eating one step further when he introduced an all organic children’s menu to the Seattle market eight years ago.  Gavin comments “Making real, free range chicken strips is much more time consuming than buying processed chicken products, but the taste and nutritional value is well worth it, along with the peace of mind a chef gets knowing he is doing the right thing for his guests.”

Fairmont’s nutritious take on childhood favorites and the addition of healthy beverage options such as spring water, unsweetened juices, smoothies and shakes is expected to turn the usual meal time battle into a much anticipated event for families staying with the brand.  As part of the luxury hotel brand’s ongoing commitment to welcoming guests of all ages, kids five and under eat for free when ordering from the children’s menu while those 12 and under with a desire for something more grown-up can order child-sized portions from the adult menu or from Fairmont’s newly introduced Lifestyle Cuisine Plus menu that caters to such dietary needs as diabetic and gluten free at 50 percent off the listed price.


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Total Travel Management Compensation Up 5% Over 2010

January 18  |  meeting and event industry news  |   Andrew Maxwell

The majority of travel buyers (62%) are satisfied with their salaries, with average total compensation climbing five percent this year to $101,736 according to findings released today from the GBTA Foundation’s annual 2011 Travel Management Compensation and Benefits Survey.  Based on the responses of 255 corporate travel and meetings managers working in the U.S. and Canada, a large majority of travel managers (71%) also noted their travel departments haven’t seen job cuts related to the economy.

“Despite global economic challenges, job security and compensation remain strong for travel buyers,” said Craig Banikowski, GBTA Chairman.  “Employers increasingly recognize that business travel is a strategic investment in growth and rely on their travel management teams to ensure a good return on that investment.”

Key Findings:


Compensation levels for travel professionals tend to increase as total domestic travel spend increases.  In 2011 average compensation by title is as follows:

  • Directors: 1% increase to $133,965
  • Managers/ Supervisors: 11% increase to $101,250
  • Coordinators/Specialists, Administrative Assistants: 5% increase to $62,514
  • In addition, two out of five respondents (40%) say their employer offers a stock option plan.


  • Travel managers are increasingly responsible for global programs, with 69% of respondents indicating their program covers travelers based in other countries vs. 54% of respondents in 2010.
  • The role of travel managers is multifaceted.  Classic duties include: negotiating with travel vendors (95%); administering corporate travel programs (91%); and developing and administering travel policy (84%).
  • Buyers also have responsibilities in other areas such as technology, including evaluating and applying new technology to travel management (80%) and developing travel risk management/travel security programs (50%).

Professional Development

  • Nearly 90% of respondents reported their convention attendance and professional association dues are benefits paid in full by their employer.
  • Nearly eight out of ten (78%) said their employers also covered continuing education.

“Companies recognize that travel managers are the key to developing and implementing strategic travel management programs and are investing in their continued education,” Banikowski concluded. “Through professional development, business travel buyers will continue to improve their knowledge and skills, expanding their ability to support corporate travelers and help maximize the value of their companies’ travel programs.”


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