Global Events Partners, a partnership of destination management companies worldwide, is up for sale, according to Chris White, chairman and owner of GEP, which he launched in 1999. GEP’s sister company, the Krisam Group, a hotel marketing company that sells to meeting managers and currently represents 243 properties, is also for sale, according to White, who founded the company 38 years ago and has been chairman and owner ever since. Both companies are headquartered in Washington, D.C.
In October, White announced that GEP was closing its seven company-owned DMCs: GEP Washington (D.C.), GEP Philly, GEP Baltimore, GEP Bahamas, GEP South Florida, GEP Utah, and GEP Atlanta. At the time, White said the move was “a return to GEP’s original business model representing only independently owned and operated partners, which now number 58 and are 100 percent open for business.” This week, White said “GEP continues to operate but also may be sold in the next few weeks, but will remain as GEP with the same sales staff.”
Stacy Tischler, COO of Krisam and GEP, attended EIBTM in Barcelona this week and said she was enjoying “a very busy show and busy day,” when responding to a request for a statement November 19.
A GEP partner company, LEO Events, independently owned and operated by Kevin Brewer, Memphis, Tenn., said none of the 58 partner companies has left the partnership, which is essentially a marketing and referral network for planners who use DMCs all over the world. “The partners are committed to each other and the strength is in the individually owned companies. GEP continues to market us and put us out there in the industry. Our relationships with each other continue to be strong.”
Krisam Personnel Make Moves
Also on November 19, Associated Luxury Hotels International, a hotel representation company based in Orlando, Fla., and representing more than 160 four- and five-diamond properties to meeting professionals, announced that it had hired five news sales professionals, effective immediately. All of them had previously worked for Krisam/GEP. They are Mary Vogt, who serves as vice president of sales in the U.S. Midwest region, based in ALHI’s global sales office in Chicago; Scott White, who serves as regional director of sales for the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region, based in ALHI’s global sales office in Washington, D.C.; Joe Nahas, who serves as director of sales for the U.S. Northeast region, based in ALHI’s global sales office in New York City; Traci Baxter, who serves as director of sales for the U.S. South region, based in Louisville, Ky.; and Alexis Matera, who joins as sales associate for the U.S. Northeast region, based in ALHI’s global sales office in New York City.
When asked about a possible sale of Krisam Group to ALHI, Jim Schultenover, who left Krisam Group as president in late September to become president of ALHI, said, “We have been exploring the opportunity, but, respectfully, I cannot comment on what may or may not ultimately happen.”
Both ALHI and Krisam Group work in a national, or global, sales office model, in that meeting professionals work with sales executives who are engaged and authorized to represent their specific portfolio of properties. When meeting business is placed, planners are not charged for the sourcing of a meeting or incentive program. Member properties, most of them independents or emerging brands, pay fees or dues to be members of the respective marketing groups. The model is different from that of site selection companies, such as HelmsBriscoe or ConferenceDirect, which work purely on commission from hotels for meetings sourced, and whose associates are self-employed.