Survival of the Biggest

In the world of third-party meetings management, larger players are competing for corporate and association business. Twinsburg, OH-based third-party meetings management firm Conferon in May joined forces with Frederick, MD-based housing and registration provider ExpoExchange, to form Conferon Global Services (CGS), a full-service meetings management outsourcing provider that has headquarters in both those cities.

The new organization has 625 employees in seven domestic offices, and it provides support to over 2,000 corporate and association events annually, according to CGS, making the company one of the largest third-party meetings management firms.

Most of the Conferon and ExpoExchange leadership made the transition to CGS, including CGS' CEO Mike Goodwin, formerly CEO of ExpoExchange, and former Conferon CEO Bruce Harris, who is now president of CGS.

Harris says the combination of the two organizations makes them a one-stop shop. "ExpoExchange is a leading housing and registration provider and Conferon is the leading meetings management firm," he explains. "Right off the bat, we can offer new services to people."

Elsewhere in the third-party meetings management business, bigger companies are competing for slices of the pie. Maritz McGettigan, which was acquired by corporate travel stalwart Maritz Travel Company in 2001, continues to be a major force in the industry, and other large travel management companies, including American Express and Rosenbluth International, have stepped up their pursuit of what Rosenbluth called the "$300 billion global market" for meetings.