Direct Travel Announces Continued Meetings & Incentives Expansion Within Canada

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Direct Travel aligns Strategic Meetings + Incentives, and the newly acquired Meridican, under its full-service meeting, incentive and recognition company, Creative Group

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

Direct Travel, Inc., one of the top travel management companies in North America, announced today the acquisition of Meridican, a Toronto based Meetings & Incentive company and the subsequent alignment of Strategic Meetings + Incentives, a division of Vision Travel, A Direct Travel Company, under the management of Creative Group, a full-service meeting, incentive and recognition company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA. These companies will be rebranded Creative Group effective October 11.

“The acquisition of Meridican and the alignment of Strategic Meetings + Incentives under Creative Group is consistent with our strategy of global expansion,” said Ed Adams, CEO of Direct Travel.

“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 of 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.”

Founded in 1974, Strategic Meetings + Incentives, Toronto, is a pioneer in the meetings and incentives industry in Canada and recognized as a world leader in the industry. Its business savvy approach, with a focus on accountability and innovative solutions, has been vital to its success.

Meridican has been providing Canadian and U.S. based clients with meetings and incentive programs for over 30 years. Like Creative Group, Meridican has always had a goal of constant improvement, bringing new technology and innovative program elements to their incentive programs and events. “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,” notes Anthony Byron, President of Meridican.

Local leadership will be retained to run the new offices in Toronto. Ellie MacPherson, formerly Senior Vice President, Strategic Meetings + Incentives will be responsible for the overall management of the Canadian entity as Senior Vice President, Canada 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,” notes 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 of Meridican, has been appointed Senior Vice President, Business Development Canada, Creative Group and will lead the Canadian based business development team. Manion states that, “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.”

About Direct Travel
Direct Travel, Inc. is a leading provider of corporate travel management services. The company has been providing travel management services for over 40 years, working with clients to develop highly customized travel programs. By leveraging both the expertise of its people and innovative solutions, Direct Travel enables clients to derive the greatest value from their travel program in terms of superior service, progressive technologies and significant cost savings. Direct Travel has offices in 90 locations across North America and the UK and is currently ranked 9th on Travel Weekly’s Power List. Direct Travel is also a prominent member of Virtuoso, the world’s most prestigious luxury travel network. For more information about Direct Travel, please visit http://www.dt.com.

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. For more information, please visit http://www.creativegroupinc.com.

About Creative Group
Creative Group is a full-service meeting, incentive and recognition company that delivers business results by inspiring people to thrive. An industry leader, Creative Group has been honored with SITE awards and the CMI 25 Award, which recognizes the top 25 most influential meeting and incentive management companies in the U.S.

Creative Group was founded in 1970 and has served clients in financial services, life sciences, insurance, manufacturing, retail, technology, automotive and hospitality. Employing over 260 people, the company is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois and maintains offices in Detroit, Denver, San Francisco, Appleton, Wisconsin and Toronto, Canada. Creative Group was acquired by Direct Travel in 2015. For more information about Creative Group, please visit http://www.creativegroupinc.com

About Meridican
Meridican, founded in 1982, is an award-winning, full-service meetings, events and incentives company focused on delivering world-class incentive travel programs, meetings and conferences, product launches, and consumer events. These transformative event experiences are designed to support long-term business goals and objectives. Meridican services a client list that includes but is not limited to automotive, finance, insurance, food services, retail, telecommunications and manufacturing companies.

About Strategic Meetings + Incentives
Strategic Meetings + Incentives is a leading full-service meeting, incentive and events company with a focus on delivering quantifiable results for clients since 1974. Strategic Meetings + Incentives has been the recipient of SITE Crystal Awards, as well as numerous industry recognition awards.

In 2013, Strategic Meetings + Incentives was acquired by Vision Travel, now part of Direct Travel. The Strategic Meetings + Incentives client roster includes insurance, financial services, automotive, energy and retail companies.

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