Issue: December 2007 Issue
A Successful Turnout
Experient is perfecting the event experience for clients across the country.
When companies like The Sherwin-Williams Co., IBM and the Consumer Electronics Association need to plan an event, they rely on the more than 100 certified meeting professionals at Experient Inc. Formerly known as Conferon, Experient considers itself a leading source for integrated meeting and event solutions, handling more than 3,500 events a year that range from a 25-person business meeting to a political convention with more than 100,000 attendees. It's no wonder Experient has been a regular on the Weatherhead 100 list — 16 times, to be exact.
"We've helped our clients deliver some of the largest events in the world," says Michael Guerriero, chief financial officer and treasurer. "Being able to deliver services to that wide range makes us unique and lets our clients know they can come to us for any size event and we can deliver."
In 2003, the company acquired two organizations — Expo Exchange and ITS Information Services — tripling in size and broadening its service offerings. Last year, the three companies were combined and the organization was renamed Experient.
"Any time you bring companies together, integrating those cultures and technology, the way of doing business will be challenging," Guerriero says. "I think the success rate for mergers is generally not that high because it isn't that easy. But when it does work, it has great rewards."
Because Experient provides event services throughout the United States, its executives are scattered across the country. "We have our CEO in Atlanta, and we have executives in Washington, D.C., Frederick, Md., and Twinsburg," Guerriero says. "We like to say our headquarters are really with our clients."
The company prides itself on its ability to produce an entire event from start to finish. Executives help clients decide where to hold the event; negotiate contracts with hotels and convention centers; coordinate registration; and manage an event — including logistics, food and beverage services, transportation, schedules and more.
And because of the number of events Experient produces, the company's buying power allows clients to get the best return on their investment, Guerriero says. Experient has corporate contracts and partnerships with suppliers, city tourism bureaus and virtually every major hotel chain, as well as with the most popular independent hotels and resorts in the United States.
Further, Experient team members hold 111 memberships in industry associations and fill 20 seats on industry advisory boards. "Many of our employees are recognized for their knowledge and leadership," Guerriero says.
Experient's work doesn't end when the last attendee walks out the door. Experient offers post-event reporting and analysis with information such as attendee traffic patterns and peak exhibit hours, dollars spent on food and beverage and generated revenue. Plus, the company provides an overall overview complete with suggestions and recommendations to improve the client's next event.
Guerriero, who started with Conferon in 1990 when he was one of 40 employees doing $3 million in sales, says he's proud of Experient's exponential sales growth since the three companies merged in 2001. Today, the company has 700 employees — about 140 of which work out of the Twinsburg headquarters — and more than $90 million in sales.
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