Global Experience Specialists Caps Off 2014 with Positive Q4, Full-year Revenues

February 6, 2015

This past year was a busy one for Global Experience Specialists, a division of Viad, with several acquisitions to bolster its service offerings, as well as working on some U.S.-based mega shows, including CONEXPO-CON/AGG and the International Manufacturing Technology Show.

"We delivered significant growth this year and made great progress against our strategic growth plans,” said Steve Moster, who was promoted to president and CEO of Viad last year.

He added, “Both business units finished the year in line with our prior guidance, with strong results driven by a combination of organic growth, acquisitions and continued focus on driving increased efficiencies."

Overall, GES scored $152.4 million in revenues in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared with $134.5 million during the same quarter in 2013, a 13.3 percent increase.

Full-year revenues for GES also saw a 13-percent uptick from $628.9 million in 2013 to $710.8 million last year.

Same-show growth for GES in 2014 was particularly strong, with a 6.4 increase, compared with 2013.

“The same-show growth was driven by new services being added, such as electrical and AV, but if we pull that out, it was still very strong.” Moster said. “We’re getting back to more normal levels of same-show growth.”

CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE had record-breaking showfloors, with 2.35 million net square feet of exhibit space that featured some 2,400 exhibitors and attracted close to 130,000 attendees.

IMTS also saw increases in attendance and had more than 1.3 million net sq. ft. of exhibit space, as well as hosting 2,035 exhibiting companies.

“There have been increases in attendance, square footage and the number of exhibitors,” Moster said. “Exhibitors continue to see the value of face to face for their marketing spend.”

Viad’s full-year revenues in 2014 for the entire company rose 11.7 percent to $106 billion, compared with $953 million in 2013.

The company also performed well last year overseas, with its international division seeing an 8.9 percent increase in full-year revenues to $249.6 million, compared with the year before.

Viad made several acquisitions this year, including U.S. housing companies onPeak and Travel Planners, as well as Blitz Communications and N200 overseas.

Moster said with all of the added services, the company was reaching its goal to be the “preferred global, full-service provider for live events.”

"During the fourth quarter, we created a digital platform for live events by acquiring the leading event accommodations companies, onPeak and Travel Planners, acquiring the leading European registration company, N200, and forming a partnership with an award-winning conference technology company (CadmiumCD),” he added. 

Moster said, “Additionally, we continued to grow our audio visual business both domestically and through the acquisition of UK-based Blitz Communications.”

GES also scored some new business, adding AV services to the Solar Power International event, as well as AV services were added onto two other existing clients – the Los Angeles Auto Show and Western Veterinary Conference.

Looking into the rest of this year, there are some headwinds, with the mega shows not in the mix.

Even so, the company is forecasting similar revenues to 2014, with the negative show rotation being made up by the company’s overall growth strategy and new service offerings.

Looking forward into next year, Moster said, “We will be very well positioned to deliver substantially higher revenue and margins during 2016, when we will benefit from stronger show rotation and the repositioning of GES as the preferred global, full-service provider for live events."

He added, “This is an exciting time for us.”

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