Bruce Morgan has seen BCD Meetings & Events grow from 300 employees when he started there in 2004 to more than 1,500 employees today.
Morgan has grown right along with the company, recently assuming the leadership of BCD Meetings & Events’ Meetings Management business in the U.S. and globally. That is in addition to his leading the Latin American, or LATAM, division.
Morgan has used his 20 years of diverse experience in sales and marketing management, as well as global event management and performance, to create growth and opportunity in the LATAM region. Here, Morgan discusses the growth of the LATAM region and what he sees ahead for the business.
You’ve been heading up the Latin America region. How has that division grown?
We’ve grown through integrating offices and adding offices for meetings and events. We’ve grown on the bottom line and from a customer standpoint. We are wholly owned in Brazil and Argentina, and we’ve had an office in Mexico for some time. We recently acquired a company in Colombia and have an office in Costa Rica. We’ve been adding to our footprint.
What is a Latin American market that you think has been underserved in the meetings industry?
Latin America is an interesting location, including in the event space. Argentina has 50 percent year-over-year inflation, so it’s a challenge to place into the market or for the people there to do business outside the market. There is good value for customers coming into the market, but inside that market, inflation makes it harder to do business in the U.S. or Europe. We have invested heavily in Brazil and we believe in the opportunity in that marketplace, and Brazil has significant growth opportunity for meeting and events industry. In Mexico, for us, the largest market in the region, we do a tremendous amount of business and we don’t see it slowing down.
Is there a U.S. market you think is untapped?
There’s no real market in the U.S. that is untapped, but there are trends. What we hear from our clients is a consistent desire to further reduce supplier set. They want excellent service, but in many industries and service sectors, our customers are still working with several agencies in each space. How do we do more with less? In the agency space, it means not just being able to offer a variety of services but also to offer them really well. The opportunity I see in the U.S. is to use fewer suppliers, but with same level of service.
What’s the next big trend you see in meetings industry?
I think it’s not a big “Aha,” but technology is reshaping how we do business. For us in the space we sit in, it’s continually investigating the technology solutions, whether that is for the attendee experience, how we are purchasing or acquiring assets, automated payment, or on-site execution. And technology is driving engagement. If it meets the customer’s needs and is considered best in class, we will use those solutions.
What’s a trend you wish you would see?
Let’s not make things too complex. We have an opportunity in the meeting management space to simplify what we are doing and provide and help customers move quickly and nimbly in the meeting continuum. I think we can slow down and simplify.
One of the opportunities I see is, there are a lot of global strategies being deployed in the market from a corporate standpoint. We would love to see the ability to empower those global leaders with regional and local influence to implement change. We would encourage those global leaders to take feedback from local and regional counterparts and work with that input and your program will be successful.