ACTE, PCMA Form Strategic Alliance

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives and the Professional Convention Management Association yesterday announced the formation of a "strategic alliance." Officials stressed that each association would remain independent entities with separate boards and staffs, but would cooperate on joint member benefits, education, research and collocation of events.

PCMA president and CEO Deborah Sexton said the time is ripe to further collaboration amid the ongoing convergence between business travel and meetings management. Though she noted opportunities for potential revenue sharing, she said that "none of the other arrangements have been worked out at this point in time. We're working on them as we speak."

Yesterday's announcement follows a failed merger attempt led by some board members of the National Business Travel Association and ACTE.

ACTE president Richard Crum, who reassumed his post at the association this week following his predecessor's resignation, said of the PCMA relationship, "The relationship between our organizations stretches back two years and even further. This is something we've worked on for quite a bit of time and it's evolved over time. It's not a response to anything else that has happened, whether it's the economy or the discussions in the media about some potential tie-up between us and NBTA, which our board has rejected and turned away two-and-a-half weeks ago."

Although ACTE is committed to remaining a stand-alone association, at least one travel industry supplier this week asked the boards of ACTE and NBTA to pursue a merger. In a letter sent to both boards, BCD Travel global president and COO John Snyder wrote, "Due to current economic conditions and other factors, BCD Travel is no longer in a position to support both organizations as we have in the past. As a result, we will be forced to reduce our investment in both organizations. Careful consideration has been given as we take this position. We anticipate that other NBTA and ACTE members, both corporate and supplier, will take similar actions to make the message clear—one global travel association is best for all."

Meanwhile, Michele Bryant, director of travel and procurement for Deloitte Services LP, has become the fourth member resigning from the ACTE board in recent weeks, following president Doug Weeks, treasurer-elect Mary Ellen George and treasurer Brad Seitz.

Source: Business Travel News