A destination management company (DMC) offers intimate destination knowledge and can take care of all ground services – transfers, accommodation, restaurants, venues, logistics and activities. A DMC can provide you with access to once in a lifetime experiences which aren’t generally available to the public and because they have great buying power, they can obtain excellent rates to stretch your budget further.
Tips for selecting a DMC
- Do your homework – remember the DMC in a destination should be your partner, so they are a hugely important element of the program. Check the candidates out carefully, by seeking recommendations from as many sources as possible: their national tourist board or convention bureau, the airlines, hotels and other suppliers that you may know. A good DMC will work hard at fostering good relationships with their suppliers as with their clients, knowing that a successful event depends on delivering every program element with excellence, working as a team, delivering on their promises, and surpassing client expectations.
- Do they belong to an industry association such as SITE or MPI? This will show their understanding of industry issues and the differences between leisure tourism and business tourism. They recognise the importance of the corporate culture and needs, and don’t just deliver a package that isn’t tailored specifically to meet the client’s goals.
- Do they have representation in Australasia and do they visit regularly to promote their services? This will show an understanding of local customs and cultures, and show a commitment and loyalty to your particular marketplace, knowing that “one size doesn’t fit all”. The local representation company will bring additional benefits – not only are they usually on the same time-zone as you (especially for long-haul programs), but they can act as an “interpreter” in both directions, between you and the DMC, they probably know your specific ways of working and will be aware of any customs (and idiosyncrasies!) of the DMC.
- Interview them! You both need to know and trust each other – talk to them and get a feel for how they “function”. Do you like them? Do you trust them with your reputation and your best clients? Remember that if the program materialises, you will be spending a lot of time with them and you need to be comfortable with them, they will become your right-hand man (or woman) and their sole purpose will be to make you look good. You know what your clients want, they know what does and doesn’t work in their destination – you both need to listen to each other and together you can come up with the perfect program!
- Check that the DMC understands your culture in order to combine excellent operational and creative services in the relevant city in accordance with your culture.
- Use them properly – think “value” rather than “cost” – they should not just be an order-taker, they should be your partner. Beware the venue-finder that claims to be a DMC – they will simply be order-takers or (worse) sell you what they want rather than what you need. A good DMC will help you balance a program, not just with big-budget items, they can suggest low-cost ingredients (or even free!) so that the participants have a good balance of free time and activities. They can actually save you money and add value – they know what’s hot and what’s not; they can give you suggestions to “give back” to the community to address corporate social responsibility, they can give you good business reasons as to why that client should hold their event in that destination. You will benefit from their relationships with the suppliers on the ground – remember that while you may have good relationships with the hotels’ local and regional sales offices, they will know the people on the ground who will make it happen – something which you can never achieve in all the destinations around the world.