Mark Buist talks acquisition: 'You don't want to jump into bed with the wrong person'

Managing director of Penguins, Mark Buist, spoke to C&IT about the benefits acquisition offers a smaller agency in a competitive market.

Mark Buist
Mark Buist

What results are you seeing from the drp acquisition so far?

Having run the company on my own for 27 years, being part of something so established is very beneficial to us. We now have a management team to tap into, in addition to having access to their business and ideas.

For the company, there is a great benefit from being part of a bigger enterprise. Drp has a strong focus on training and personal development of its staff. This is useful for us in developing our own team through drp’s strong training programmes.

In terms of acquisitions, you don’t want to jump into bed with the wrong person, which we haven’t done. Despite what the media world is saying, there are exciting times ahead for the industry.

How does the acquisition affect Penguins' long-term strategy?

There is a great synergy that exists between the two companies. I wouldn’t have wanted to go into business with anyone else. Dale is a respected figurehead in the industry, and with this acquisition we can achieve what we want to, which is to be exceptional.

We have always had a list of core preferred suppliers, but when these capabilities are in-house the benefits for profitability are great and this creates a joined-up solution for clients. I am not saying we wouldn’t have achieved greatness on our own, but in a competitive marketplace you get to a certain size and in this uncertain climate you start to wonder if acquisition is the best route. In my opinion, this was the best decision for Penguins to take, as it has given us that diversification and range of services which improves our offering and makes us more competitive.

What are your plans in regards to pushing your incentive travel offering?

We are looking at providing a total solution to customers, not just incentive travel, in terms of reward and recognition and helping clients to engage employees. The UK has a lot to do to engage its workforce, and especially in this current climate, it’s important to make people feel supported by their bosses and management teams.

Rather than paying lip service to employees, companies must engage tham and make sure they have a strategy in mind. There needs to be a programme in place that people can be part of, which allows them to celebrate the success of the business they are involved in. By tapping into drp’s digital, print, and video offerings, we can provide these elements effectively for clients.

Are there any destinations you’ll be focussing on and what’s off the pitch list?

It’s unfair to specific destinations for me to talk about them being off the list. There are DMCs and hotels in areas that are now considered undesirable that are being hit hard, but we don’t want to say they are off the list. The world is changing all the time and we have to be aware of political situations and advise clients accordingly.

We are already tapped into drp’s crisis management programme, which gives us greater confidence. Giving our team that confidence to know how to deal with a crisis is an absolute imperative – they go on training and come back so energised. This goes back to what I said about training being of key benefit to smaller agencies.

For more breaking news and in-depth features, sign up to C&IT's daily News Tracker here.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
New head of incentive travel for SevenEvents

New head of incentive travel for SevenEvents

Former C&IT A-Lister Heléna Vella has joined SevenEvents to head up the newly-formed incentives team.

Behind the winning entry: Best Use of Technology

Behind the winning entry: Best Use of Technology

SPARK THINKING organised Jaguar Land Rover's Graduate & Apprentice Induction Programme.

Battersea Power Station reveals plans for 'glass elevator' and viewing platform

Battersea Power Station reveals plans for 'glass elevator' and viewing platform

Owners say unique Chimney Lift experience will offer "breathtaking" views across London when it opens in 2021.

Banks Sadler hires new head of business development and senior bid writer

Banks Sadler hires new head of business development and senior bid writer

Agency says the appointment of Sue Darlaston and Jamie Blackall from HRG are 'a brilliant addition to the team'.

Why MICE planners need to think about leisure

Why MICE planners need to think about leisure

A look at how a destination's leisure offering can increase the success of business events.

Behind the winning entry: Events Destination of the Year

Behind the winning entry: Events Destination of the Year

Visit Belfast wowed the judges at this year's C&IT Awards and demonstrated how the city has become a top MICE destination.

Complete the C&IT Corporate Survey for a chance to win a stay in the Cotswolds

Complete the C&IT Corporate Survey for a chance to win a stay in the Cotswolds

Corporate event planners could win a stay at the Lygon Arms by contributing to our first ever State of the Industry Corporate Report.

Hotel review: Signiel Seoul

Hotel review: Signiel Seoul

Five-star glamour high in the sky above the South Korean capital, with impressive facilities for meetings and events.

Head and neck cancer congress going to Brisbane

Head and neck cancer congress going to Brisbane

International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies event will take place on the east coast of Australia in 2026.

NoMad Las Vegas opens its doors

NoMad Las Vegas opens its doors

Aiming high with a concept of the 'refinement of a European home', NoMad Las Vegas is on the top four floors of Park MGM.

LATEST JOBS