This acquisition is preceded by Direct Travel’s 2017 merger with Canadian travel management company Vision Travel, which brought Vision’s Toronto-based MICE division, Strategic Meetings + Incentives (SM+i), into the Direct Travel fold.
Now Meridican and Strategic Meetings + Incentives will be aligned under the management of Creative Group, a full-service meeting, incentive and recognition company based in Schaumburg, Illinois. They will be rebranded Creative Group effective October 11, 2019. Local leadership will be retained to run the new offices in Toronto.
“The addition of Meridican and Strategic Meetings + Incentives allows us to grow our international portfolio and enables all of us to better service companies that have offices in both Canada and the United States. In addition, these moves continue the diversification of our client portfolio, increase our buying power and strengthen our talent base,” says Janet Traphagen, president, Creative Group. “The award-winning work created by both of these offices, and the service they provide to their clients, is world-class and aligns well with that of Creative Group.”
“The purchase will allow Meridican to continue to service its clients in the same exemplary manner. In addition, Creative Group’s business approach and culture align with ours, making this a win-win for everyone,” says Anthony Byron, president, Meridican.
Two of the Canadian MICE industry’s best-known incentive travel professionals will be leading the Canadian operations.
Ellie MacPherson, formerly senior vice-president, SM+i, will be responsible for the overall management of the Canadian entity as senior vice-president, Canadian Operations, Creative Group.
“I’m excited to be aligning under the Creative Group brand. I have always respected the outstanding work delivered by Creative Group, its client tenure and its outstanding team,” says MacPherson. “Our team looks forward to offering our broad spectrum of long-standing clients in financial, insurance, automotive and energy with the new and additional services our alignment with Creative Group will provide.”
Terry Manion, previously executive vice-president, Meridican, has been appointed senior vice-president, Business Development Canada, Creative Group. He will lead the Canadian-based business development team. “Our joining Creative Group will allow us to provide additional depth, services and incentive solutions that will augment our current offerings—bringing enhanced value to our clients,” says Manion.
About Direct Travel
Direct Travel is a leading provider of corporate travel management services. In operation for more than 40 years, it has offices in 90 locations across North America and the UK and is currently ranked 9th on Travel Weekly’s Power List. Additionally, Direct Travel offers full-service performance improvement solutions, including meeting and event management, group incentive travel and individual recognition solutions through its wholly-owned subsidiary Creative Group, Inc.