In an effort to branch out from the corporate market, third-party provider Maritz Travel has purchased Experient, the large meeting planning concern. The move gives Maritz a presence in the association and government meetings markets, as well as in trade shows; all areas in which Experient has clients and Maritz does not.
Maritz is “99.9 percent corporate, with just one longstanding association customer,” CEO David Peckinpaugh revealed to Meetingsfocus.com. Experient, which was previously owned by a private equity firm—and for which Peckinpaugh also worked, as executive vice president of sales and marketing for eight years and then chief marketing officer for just a few months—did not suffer any layoffs as a result of the move, according to Peckinpaugh.
“This was based on growth, not on realizing any efficiencies,” he said, declining to reveal the purchase price for the Twinsburg, Ohio-based Experient.
The company’s CEO, Jeff Price, did step aside as part of the change, but Peckinpaugh had nothing but praise for the departing executive.
Last fall Maritz created a strategic plan to broaden its client base but the company didn’t know at the time what players would be involved, Peckinpaugh admitted.
“We had discussions about making acquisitions in the association market,” he said, “but we developed the strategy first and then unexpectedly this opportunity came to us.”
Peckinpaugh described his relationship with the company as “definitely an influencing factor,” but noted, “I think the company [Maritz] would have made the same decision if I wasn’t here.”
The two companies represent an enormous portion of the industry’s business. In 2011, their combined impact represented more than $2 billion in industry volume spend and nearly 3 million travelers served. Or stated another way, Maritz managed, sourced or contracted over 1.37 million hotel room nights last year while Experient processed more than 5,000 contracts in that time.