AlliedPRA, Inc., a firm which leads the destination management company (DMC) sector of the business events industry, has acquired Briggs, the DMC sector leader in the New York market. The strategic move significantly expands the reach of AlliedPRA, which has 26 locations and $115 million in system revenue, into this important marketplace.
Successful Meetings caught up with Tony Lorenz, CEO of AlliedPRA (pictured right), and Anthony Napoli, president of Briggs (left), for a quick Q&A on what the acquisition means for both organizations and the state of the DMC sector as a whole.
What does this acquisition mean for both organizations?
Anthony Napoli: We hope that the new partnership will bring more of the world to Briggs and more of Briggs to the rest of the USA. Allied PRA has a great sales force that will be channeling more business our way.
Tony Lorenz: There will be increasing opportunity to take existing clients that have done events in other AlliedPRA locals and introduce them to New York. Without a doubt, Briggs is the best business in our sector in the highly competitive and critically important New York market. Briggs is comprised of a team of innovators who push well beyond traditional New York experiences, now further driving innovation as a core competency at AlliedPRA. We are in the early stages of expanding our business, in good part through our alignment with the best talent this industry has to offer. Briggs has enormous talent, and will play a leading role in AlliedPRA's intent to re-shape the way in which our sector contributes to the overall business events landscape over time.
What is the state of the DMC sector right now, and what changes do you see happening in the future?
Napoli: The era of standalone boutique DMCs is fading. It's hard for a standalone company to compete with the other large consortiums going on. That's why Briggs made this decision, that to grow bigger we needed a larger company to help us. We need support on a national and even global level.
Lorenz: This part of the industry is extremely fragmented and we don't receive enough recognition for the value we bring. This is why AlliedPRA is acquiring companies like Briggs, and Destination Services Corporation, which we acquired earlier this year.
The intent is to change this amazing sector called DMCs. I think the space is as critical as any other sector in business events. So to the extent that we can build it out into a stronger platform through acquisitions of great companies like Briggs, we can be a bigger voice to everyone in the meetings and event space, and that will benefit everyone.
How long do you see this process taking?
Lorenz: We have a long way to go. Right now, AlliedPRA is number one in the market share and we're only 5 percent of the market. There is no clear platform for the DMC space. We're going to build that out to benefit all. Even at our size now we don't have the platform to help create the standardized education that will raise the industry knowledge and professionalism of the DMC sector, but we're going to get there.
Napoli: Fortunately we're not alone. We'll partner with the Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI) too, in order to help create the standardized business practices and education that can move the industry forward. And that will help us to get the respect in the industry that hotels, meeting planning, and incentive companies get in the industry. This is a step in that direction.