Advantage Performance Network
Savage, Minn.

Ambassadors, LLC
Newport Beach, Calif.

American Express Business Travel
New York

BCD Meetings & Incentives
Chicago

BI
Edina, Minn.

Bucom International Inc.
Chicago

Carlson Marketing Worldwide
Plymouth, Minn.

Creative Group Inc.
Appleton, Wis.

Enterprise Events Group
San Rafael, Calif.

Excellence In Motivation
Dayton, Ohio

Experient
Twinsburg, Ohio

Fox Premier Meetings and Incentives
Oshkosh, Wis.

Gavel International Inc.
Lincolnshire, Ill.

George P. Johnson
Auburn Hills, Mich.

Gray Consulting International Meetings & Incentives
Philadelphia

Maritz Travel Co.
Fenton, Mo.

McVeigh Associates, Ltd.
Amityville, N.Y.

Meeting Alliance
Robbinsville, N.J.

Meeting Expectations Inc.
Atlanta

Meridian Group Travel
Hazelwood, Mo.

MotivAction, LLC
Minneapolis

R/A Performance Group
San Francisco

SDI Travel and Incentives
Chicago

TBA Global, LLC
Los Angeles

USMotivation
Atlanta

Advantage Performance Network

Savage, Minn.
(952) 447-1333
www.advantageperformancenetwork.com

Founded: 1995

Leadership: Mary Sue Leathers, president & CEO; Christopher Lund, executive VP/partner

Corporate meetings in 2007:
78

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
48

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
25%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives: 50,000

Full-time employees:
115

At a glance: With a diversified list of service areas beyond meeting and incentive travel management — including corporate travel management, leisure travel, merchandise awards, and performance improvement solutions — 66 percent of company revenues come from sources other than meetings and incentives. CEO Mary Sue Leathers was voted “Woman Business Owner of the Year” in 2007 by the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. (See story, page 24.)

Ambassadors, LLC

Newport Beach, Calif.
(949) 759-5900
www.ambassadors.com

Founded: 1965

Leadership: Pirjo Niemi, executive VP; John Lee, executive VP

Corporate meetings in 2007:
105

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
82

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
20%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
535,000

Full-time employees:
137

At a glance: Ambassadors LLC is a division of publicly traded Ambassadors International, which also runs Windstar Cruises and a division focused on developing marinas. In addition to meeting and incentive management, the company offers full-service housing and registration, sourcing and contracting of meeting space, development of strategic meetings management systems, and design of incentive and recognition programs. The division brings in 75 percent of its revenues from meetings, 20 percent from incentives, and 5 percent from other sources. Top clients include real estate giant CB Richard Ellis and Hyundai.

American Express Business Travel

New York
(212) 640-2000
www.americanexpress.com/businesstravel

Founded: 1916

Leadership: Charles Petruccelli, president, Global Travel Services; Priyan Fernando, president, Customer Group, and COO, American Express Business Travel

Corporate meetings in 2007:
9,000 in North America, 15,570 globally

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
43%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
> 1 million

Full-time employees:
300 in N. A., 600 globally

At a glance: See story, page 23.

BCD Meetings & Incentives

Chicago
(312) 705.2200
www.bcdmi.com

Founded: 2006

Leadership: Scott Graf, president; Bruce Morgan, senior VP, marketing and business development

Corporate meetings in 2007:
3,202

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
339

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
24%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
378,408

Full-time employees:
185 in the Americas and 350 globally

At a glance: BCD Meetings & Incentives is an operating unit of BCD Travel, which formed in 2006 from a merger of World Travel Meetings & Incentives, TQ3 Travel Solutions, and Talking Point. It has annual sales of approximately $275 million and lists Bank of America, Eli Lilly, and Sanofi-aventis among its top clients. In addition to the Chicago headquarters, BCD M&I has offices in San Francisco, Mexico City, London, Brussels, and Singapore. Company executives serve on the executive board of the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives, as trustee of the International SITE Foundation, and on NBTA's Groups and Meetings Committee, among other positions.

BI

Edina, Minn.
(952) 835-4800
www.biworldwide.com

Founded: 1950

Leadership: Larry Schoenecker, president & COO; Guy Schoenecker, CEO & owner

Corporate meetings in 2007:
725

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
125

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.: 20%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
425,000

Full-time employees:
925

At a glance: Guy Schoenecker, CEO and owner, 81, was named to the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame in July 2008, a tribute to the growth of his privately held company from employee and customer incentives to a global full-service marketing company. BI has 28 offices around the world and boasts annual sales in excess of $470 million. In 2006, the company expanded into Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai, and Dubai with the acquisition of The Mint Organization.

Bucom International

Chicago
(312) 943-2600
www.bucom.com

Founded: 1987

Leadership: Darlene B. Krammer, president; Ludwig J. Krammer, director of operations

Corporate meetings in 2007:
55

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
8

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
65%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
25,000

Full-time employees:
16

At a glance: Bucom has built its success running both corporate meetings and incentive programs. A large portion — 65% — of its meetings takes place overseas. About 80 percent of the company's business comes from the pharmaceutical industry, and Darlene Krammer, president, consults on the regulations that govern those meetings. Automotive and financial are also part of the client mix.

Carlson Marketing Worldwide

Plymouth, Minn.
(763) 212-4520
www.carlsonmarketing.com

Founded: 1938

Leadership: Jeff Balagna, president & CEO; Fay Beauchine, executive VP, global engagement & events

Corporate meetings in 2007:
896

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
387

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
25%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
360,000

Full-time employees:
2,526

At a glance: Carlson Marketing Worldwide is among the largest and most diverse companies on the CMI 25 list, splitting its focus between meetings and events and brand loyalty programs. It's part of the global Carlson Cos., with sister brands such as Radisson Hotels & Resorts and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. For Carlson Marketing, the top trend in the meeting and event space is the use of mobile technology. Spurred by environmentalism and changing demographics, Carlson is capitalizing on its partnerships with technology providers such as Nokia to foster interactivity before, during, and after events through PDA communications and Web-based tools.

Creative Group Inc.

Appleton, Wis.
(920) 739-8850
www.creativegroupinc.com

Founded: 1970

Leadership: Ron Officer, chairman & CEO; Brad Langley, president & COO

Corporate meetings in 2007:
321

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
68

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
16%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
150,000*

Full-time employees:
116

*2006 data, as reported for the 2007 CMI 25 report

At a glance: Creative Group announced a partnership this year with another Wisconsin company, Milwaukee-based Adelman Travel. Adelman will recommend Creative Group to its customers needing corporate meeting and incentive planning and Creative Group will recommend Adelman for corporate travel management. This year Creative Group also partnered with MeetingMetrics, and now offers a variety of strategic surveys that measure such things as return on investment of the meeting.

Enterprise Events Group

San Rafael, Calif.
(415) 499-4444
www.eeginc.com

Founded: 1995

Leadership: Matthew Gillam, officer; Richard Calcaterra, officer

Corporate meetings in 2007:
69

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
18

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
15%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
94,770

Full-time employees:
96

At a glance: Among EEG's in-house services are Web registration and Web site development, including a customizable proprietary software called Scheduler that allows attendees to enroll in courses and track sessions through the event Web site. In addition to its headquarters in San Rafael, Calif., the company has offices in Austin, Texas, and Palm Springs, Calif. EEG has executives serving on the advisory boards for Four Seasons, Fairmont, and the New Orleans CVB.

Excellence In Motivation

Dayton, Ohio
(937) 222-2900
www.eim-inc.com

Founded: 1993

Leadership: Bob Miller, CEO/president; John Kernan, CFO

Corporate meetings in 2007:
20

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
84

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
25%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
86,000

Full-time employees:
300

At a glance: As a performance improvement company, EIM gets 70 percent of its revenues from incentives, 20 percent from meetings, and 10 percent from other sources. In addition to travel programs, the company's services include a VISA co-branded EIM debit card for use as an incentive reward and a robust online merchandise and individual travel catalog with more than 2,000 items. EIM is headquartered in Dayton and has offices in seven other cities around the U.S.

Experient

Twinsburg, Ohio
(330) 425-8333
www.experient-inc.com

Founded: 2006

Leadership: George Benson, CEO, David Erich, COO

Corporate meetings and incentives in 2007:
1,363*

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
5%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
483,549

Full-time employees:
698

*Combined meetings and incentive programs

At a glance: In addition to meeting and event management, Experient — formerly Conferon Global Services — offers registration, housing, and lead-retrieval services. About 25 percent of the company's revenues come from corporate meetings. The company is proud to note that it has 74 Certified Meeting Professionals on staff, and it recently announced a preferred partner agreement with zuku, a Madison, Conn.-based company whose audience interaction system allows organizations to connect with attendees using text messaging on their mobile phones.

Fox Premier Meetings and Incentives

Oshkosh, Wis.
(920) 236-8030
www.gopmi.com

Founded: 1980

Leadership: David Juedes, president; Geoff Kuhnz, executive VP

Corporate meetings in 2007:
62

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
85

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
29%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
About 20,000

Full-time employees:
17

At a glance: Fox Premier is an arm of Fox World Travel, the 19th largest travel-management company as ranked by Business Travel News. The division rebranded itself in July, changing from Premier Meetings and Incentives to more closely align itself with the parent company. Its top clients are in the insurance industry, with 40 percent of its revenues coming from meetings, 55 percent from incentives, and 5 percent from other sources.

Gavel International Inc.

Lincolnshire, Ill.
(847) 945-8150
www.gavelintl.com

Founded: 1985

Leadership: John Seehausen, managing director; Peter H. Reichenbach, executive VP; Michael Richardson, executive VP

Corporate meetings in 2007:
115

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
75

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
15%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
212,000

Full-time employees:
48

At a glance: Gavel International is headquartered just outside of Chicago in Lincolnshire, Ill., and has offices in Detroit and Indianapolis. About 60 percent of its revenues come from meetings, 35 percent from incentives, and 5 percent from other sources. Its services include program design, attendee messaging, performance tracking, an in-house air department, registration and housing management, and all aspects of meeting management.

George P. Johnson

Auburn Hills, Mich.
(508) 513-3340
www.gpj.com

Founded: 1914

Leadership: Robert G. Vallee, Jr., chief executive officer; Larry Vallee, president

Corporate meetings in 2007:
550+

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
100+

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
30%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
240,997

Full-time employees:
1,319

At a glance: See sidebar, page 26.

Gray Consulting International Meetings & Incentives

Philadelphia
(215) 413-2034
www.gcimi.co

Founded: 1994

Leadership: Scott A. Gray, CEO; Kathleen A. Murphy, president

Corporate meetings in 2007:
205

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
2

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
3.5%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
25,216

Full-time employees:
53

At a glance: Gray Consulting does about 95 percent of its business with the pharmaceutical industry, listing Merck & Co. Inc., AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline among its top clients. President Kathy Murphy says the company has added to its portfolio of clients in 2008 and, while corporate meetings remain its prime focus, the company also has increased its number of incentive travel programs. The Philadelphia Business Journal named Gray among the Top 25 Women-Owned Businesses in Philadelphia in 2007.

Maritz Travel Co.

Fenton, Mo.
(636) 827-4000
www.maritz.com

Founded: 1958

Leadership: W. Stephen (Steve) Maritz, chairman of the board & CEO of Maritz Inc.; Christine Duffy, president & CEO of Maritz Travel Co.

Corporate meetings in 2007:
2,124

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
395

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
11%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
876,000

Full-time employees:
About 855

At a glance: A part of Maritz Inc., ranked No. 305 on Forbes's 2007 list of America's largest private companies, Maritz Travel is a giant in the meeting and incentive field, with special expertise in the automotive, financial services, pharmaceutical, and information technology industries. Its largest clients include Edward Jones, Novartis, and Hewlett-Packard. Recent company news includes the acquisition of Cascade Promotion, a rewards fulfillment house, and becoming the exclusive distributor of Maritz Leadership Engagement, a Web-based tool that helps company leadership use employee recognition more effectively.

McVeigh Associates, Ltd.

Amityville, N.Y.
631-789-8833
www.mcveigh.com

Founded: 1990

Leadership: Frank McVeigh, president; Robert LeValley, executive VP; Ellen Montuori, executive VP

Corporate meetings in 2007:
425

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
22

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
42%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
125,000

Full-time employees:
86

At a glance: McVeigh Associates, which does 80 percent of its business with pharmaceutical companies, grew its client base 20 percent in the past year, now boasting ten clients listed among the Fortune 500, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott Laboratories, and GlaxoSmithKline. The company has a “meeting portal” product under development that, according to company president Frank McVeigh, will give users real-time access to their meetings' budgets, attendees, programming status, and other meeting data. The company expects to launch the portal in the first quarter of 2009.

Meeting Alliance

Robbinsville, N.J.
(609) 208-1908
www.meetingalliance.com

Founded: 1999

Leadership: David D'Eletto, managing partner; Barbara Jackson, managing partner; Michael Franks, Managing Partner

Corporate meetings in 2007:
75

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
6

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
1%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
68,000

Full-time employees:
19

At a glance: In 2007, Meeting Alliance earned spots on both Entrepreneur magazine's Hot 500 and Inc. magazine's Inc. 5,000 for its fast-paced growth. Company revenues jumped from $7.2 million in 2003 to $18.6 million in 2006. Today, top clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novo Nordisk, and Boehringer Ingelheim. The vast majority of revenues come from meetings (90 percent), with the balance coming from incentives.

Meeting Expectations

Atlanta
(404) 240-0999
www.meetingexpectations.com

Founded: 1992

Leadership: Brian Meyer, president & managing partner; Jeff Rausch, COO & managing partner

Corporate meetings in 2007:
220

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
20

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
10%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
30,000

Full-time employees:
70

At a glance: Meeting Expectations has had success in the high-tech sector, and top corporate clients include Vignette, Riverbend, and Manhattan Associates. Meeting Expectations produces user group conferences and sales meetings throughout the U.S., Europe, and other parts of the world. It is also an accredited association management company, and about 30 percent of its revenues come from outside the corporate meeting and incentive arena.

Meridian Group Travel

Hazelwood, Mo.
(314) 592-3000
www.meridiangrouptravel.com

Founded: 1978

Leadership: Sam Toumayan, president & founder; Michael Jordan, executive VP

Corporate meetings in 2007:
32

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
180

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
25%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
155,000

Full-time employees:
100

At a glance: Meridian Group Travel is part of Hazelwood, Mo.-based performance improvement company Meridian Enterprises Corp., which designs performance-improvement and customer-loyalty programs and offers technology for incentive program management among other services. Celebrating 30 years in business in 2008, Meridian Group Travel's top clients include Siemens, Sysco Foods, and Panasonic. Seventy percent of its revenue comes from incentives and the rest from meetings.

MotivAction, LLC

Minneapolis
(763) 412-3009
www.motivaction.com

Founded: 1976

Leadership: Williams Bryson, owner, president & CEO; Marlyn Sjaarda, CFO

Corporate meetings in 2007:
64

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
28

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
38%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
56,000

Full-time employees:
145

At a glance: See story, below.

R/A Performance Group

San Francisco
(415) 869-6500www.raevents.com

Founded: 1986

Leadership: Donna Riser, CEO; Mimi Almeida, president

Corporate meetings in 2007:
26

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
48

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
65%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
53,000

Full-time employees:
30

At a glance: This full-service firm offers site selection, communications, program operations, and post-meeting services. Top clients include Lincoln Benefit Life, BMW of North America/MINI USA, and Hollywood Entertainment/Game Crazy. In 2007, it earned a place on the San Francisco Business Times 100 Largest Women-Owned Businesses. (See story, page 24.)

SDI Travel and Incentives

Chicago
(312) 587-8200
www.sditravel.com

Founded: 1992

Leadership: Scott A. Dillion, president & CEO; Amy Michel, VP

Corporate meetings in 2007:
40

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
48

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
37%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
23,700

Full-time employees:
15

At a glance: SDI's top clients are in the healthcare, building supplies, and insurance industries, with more than a third of their 98 meetings last year being held outside the U.S. Fifty-five percent of company revenues come from incentives, and the balance from meetings.

TBA Global, LLC

Los Angeles
(818) 226-2800
www.tbaglobal.com

Founded: 1994

Leadership: Lee Rubenstein, president & COO; Robert Geddes, CEO

Corporate meetings in 2007:
547*

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
76*

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
10%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
164,550

Full-time employees:
210

*TBA Global played a major role in 1,097 meetings and 110 incentive programs in 2007. However, the number listed reflects only events for which TBA was the primary meeting/incentive management company.

At a glance: TBA Global formed in 1994 and has grown to become one of the industry's largest privately owned event management, production, training, and destination management companies. In 2005 the company acquired PGI to strengthen its business production services and add new destination management solutions. Last year it expanded again by adding both Digital Media and Learning and Performance Solutions groups.

USMotivation

Atlanta
(770) 290-4700
www.usmotivation.com

Founded: 1962

Leadership: Dan Leong, COO; Michael Ruege, executive VP

Corporate meetings in 2007:
30

Incentive travel programs in 2007:
62

Portion of meeting and incentive travel programs held outside the U.S.:
33%

Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
91,176

Full-time employees:
137

At a glance: USMotivation won a Crystal Award in 2007 from the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives for the “Most Outstanding Incentive Event” in the under $80,000 category for its client Diebold. The company specializes in a mix of incentive strategizing; marketing and communications to support incentives, loyalty programs, and other events; and merchandise and travel rewards. Forty percent of its revenue comes from corporate meetings and incentive travel.

CMI 25 Methodology

Welcome to the CMI 25, Corporate Meetings & Incentives' annual report on the meetings industry's top North American full-service meeting and incentive companies.

Now in its second year, the CMI 25 project brings you market intelligence that is unavailable elsewhere in our industry. This year, we invited 58 meeting and incentive companies to fill out the CMI 25 questionnaire — all the companies on last year's list plus 33 others that we identified as likely candidates. In the end, 35 companies supplied us with company data including their business volume, business focus, number of employees, and awards they've received.

In making their decisions on the final 25, editors gave the most weight to the information that they received about a company's total number of room nights booked and total number of corporate meetings and incentive travel programs, but they considered all the supplied information before arriving at the final list.

The CMI 25 is focused on full-service meeting and incentive companies and does not include site-selection companies.

After the inaugural CMI 25 list was published in September 2007, the editors surveyed the CMI 25 companies as well as other industry experts for feedback on the project, asking about the data we collected, the companies that made — and didn't make — the list, and how we could improve.

Among the adjustments you'll see this year: We're listing the number of meetings a company manages separately from the number of incentives, giving readers a better sense of the company's market focus. Also, companies that would not supply us with specific data on the size of their operations were not included on this year's list.

CMI 25 by the Numbers

Median number of meetings managed in 2007:
115

Median number of incentives managed in 2007:
68

Median number of Room nights booked for meetings and incentives:
108,000

Median number of employees:
115

Median portion of meetings and incentives run outside the U.S.:
25%

As a whole, the CMI 25 companies booked more than 29,800 corporate meetings and incentives in 2007, representing more than 5.5 million room nights.

Sidebars

Playing on the International Scene

What Glass Ceiling?

George P. Johnson's Long Road to Success

MotivAction: How to Thrive in Tough Times