Strategic Meetings Management Maintains Measured Recovery According to Findings from a Maxvantage Survey and Meetings Data

Business Wire

– Sixty Percent of Travel Buyers View Meetings Market as Stable –

August 23, 2010

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
AXP
NEW YORK

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Maxvantage, an alliance formed between American Express Business Travel and Maritz Travel, today released data from its Travel Buyers Survey. Among the findings, 60 percent of respondents indicated that the meetings industry is gradually improving and feel it is stable. The survey results also suggest that a mild recovery is evident based upon the increased difficulty travel buyers noted they are having with finding meeting space availability when compared to six months ago.

“Across the industry attitudes are increasingly optimistic as corporations are starting to invest in meetings again and travel and meeting professionals begin scheduling meetings,” said Issa Jouaneh, vice president, Maxvantage and Global Meeting Solutions. “This renewed demand is making availability more challenging and is resulting in slight rate increases. By leveraging our extensive data repository to anticipate such industry dynamics, we are able to provide the insight to more acutely advise our clients through the meetings management process.”

Travel Buyer’s Survey

Maxvantage’s Travel Buyers Survey, which was conducted in June, polled 90 respondents with direct responsibility for strategic meetings management. According to the survey results, respondents indicated they are beginning to see a mild recovery as more travel buyers find it increasingly difficult to find meeting room availability and more challenging to negotiate favorable rates. When compared to six months ago, Travel Buyers felt the following:

June 2010 VS. December 2009   Easier   About the Same   More Challenging
Negotiating Terms and Conditions 9% vs. 18% 68% vs. 53% 18% vs. 21%
Finding Availability 9% vs. 26% 50% vs. 51% 37% vs. 18%
Negotiating Lower Rates 17% vs. 43% 50% vs. 50% 30% vs. 18%
Sourcing Process 8% vs. 19% 60% vs. 66% 27% vs. 9%

“With market conditions changing, and indicators pointing to a move back toward a seller's market, it is essential that meeting professionals stay focused and aware of current trends happening in the industry,” said Steve O'Malley, senior vice president and general manager, Maxvantage. “Over the course of the past two years, because of the buyer’s market environment, year over year savings has been easier to achieve. With prices firming, it's critical to look at all parts of the meeting equation - participant count increases, room and food and beverage rates, and firmer terms and conditions - to ensure meetings are achieving the desired return on investment and optimal savings.”

Maxvantage Hotel Room Rate Data

Annual hotel rate data from Maxvantage also revealed that since January 2010 the drop in hotel rates started to level off and in second quarter hotel rates showed signs of stabilization. Looking back, at the 2010 negotiating season, first quotes from hotels dropped from a maximum of $226 in May 2008 to a minimum of $134 in September 2009.

While rates for top destinations continue to drop, the decrease in hotel rates year-over-year are not as severe as the drop from 2008-2009.

Location   2010 Rates (approx.)   2009 Rates (approx.)   2009-2010 YOY %
Phoenix $195 $165 21%
Las Vegas $130 $110 14%
Philadelphia $155 $150 5%
Chicago $150 $185 -16%
Atlanta $138 $160 -14%
Dallas $142 $152 -8%
Orlando $150 $155 -1%

About the Travel Buyers Survey and Proprietary Data:

Maxvantage and eXpert insights teamed up to combine the results from the Travel Buyers Survey, which is conducted every six months, with proprietary data based on clients’ strategic meetings management programs which encompasses more than 1.5 million hotel bookings annually. This information was used to create a new report entitled: “Strategic Meetings Management: The Next Cost Savings Opportunity.”

About Maxvantage

Maxvantage was established as an alliance in July 2009 between American Express Business Travel and Maritz Travel. The alliance provides companies with end-to-end strategic meetings management services including expense management and strategic sourcing with a focus on meetings that drive business results. Maxvantage benefits meetings stakeholders by delivering optimized sourcing, greater transparency and consultative services to deliver value across a company’s entire meetings program.

About American Express Business Travel

American Express Business Travel (www.americanexpress.com/businesstravel), a division of American Express Company, is committed to helping its clients maximize the return on their travel investment through cost savings strategies, world-class customer service, and greater spending control. With clients ranging from small businesses to multinational corporations, American Express Business Travel provides a combination of industry-leading technology, travel management consulting, and strategic sourcing and supplier negotiation support, alongside global customer service available online and offline. The Company also provides a dynamic online community (www.businesstravelconneXion.com) harnessing the collective intelligence of those in the business travel industry with a variety of perspectives, best practices, current research and industry news.

American Express operates one of the world’s largest travel agency networks with locations in more than 140 countries worldwide. Total travel sales volume in 2009 was $21.5 billion, including proprietary volume, volume processed through joint ventures, and American Express branded volume processed through its partner network.

About Maritz Travel

Maritz Travel, a division of Maritz, is the world leader in creating effective meeting, event and incentive travel programs. Maritz Travel provides solutions tailored to the needs of its clients, including strategic meetings management, incentive travel, meetings effectiveness, corporate meeting management and coordination and event management.

St. Louis-based Maritz is a sales and marketing services company, which helps companies achieve their full potential through understanding, enabling, and motivating employees, channel partners and customers. Maritz provides market and customer research, communications, learning solutions, incentive initiatives, rewards and recognition, effective meeting, event and incentive management services and customer loyalty programs.

For more information, visit www.maritz.com or contact us at 1-877-4MARITZ.

Contact:

Tracy Paurowski
212-640-8409
tracy.j.paurowski@aexp.com
or
Sarah Hawkins
212-446-1890
shawkins@sloanepr.com

About American Express

American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com, and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, instagram.com/americanexpress, Linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.

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