“Our company has a tag line,” says Scott Graf, president of BCD Meetings & Incentives, an operating unit of BCD Travel. “Global Presence, Regional Alignment, Local Service. And we win with local service.”
While BCD is committed to its local business model, over the last year it has made its mark globally. In 2006, three entities — World Travel Meetings & Incentives, TQ3 Travel Solutions, and the Travel Company — came together to form BCD Travel, which describes itself as the world's third-largest travel management company. And just about a year ago the new travel giant launched its meetings and incentives arm: BCD Meetings & Incentives.
“The move made sense,” says Graf. World Travel Meetings & Incentives had established a base in the Americas and had focused on, incentive travel, and strategic communications, while TQ3 focused on European meetings, group travel, and incentive travel. And Talking Point (part of the Travel Company), although fairly small, offered BCD something different again — a presence in the UK. Talking Point also had a reputation for high-level incentives and events.
BCD plans to use its new presence and credibility in the UK and European markets as it attempts to export its strategic meetings management expertise and technology into these markets. “Strategic meetings management is moving to the UK and Europe,” says Graf. “But it's still a couple of years behind the U.S. Companies there need to make adjustments, and the cultural and language differences, particularly in Europe, make that adjustment more difficult. But it's coming.”
BCD Meetings & Incentives now has a presence in 25 countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia/Pacific, with annual sales of approximately $250 million and a combined work force of 350 employees. Its world headquarters is in Chicago, with regional hubs in San Francisco, Mexico City, London, Brussels, and Singapore. Graf says the company is looking for growth opportunities in the Americas and Asia/Pacific as well as India, and expects to double in size over the next three years.