Why Use a Destination Management Company
Familiarity is THE strength of Destination Management Companies.
Anyone responsible for international, national, or regional conferences or meetings would be wise to avail themselves of such a service.
A Destination Management Company is a Meeting Planner’s guardian angel.
The DMC is knowledgeable of local customs, businesses, speakers, and resources. They can save a Meeting Planner time, money and freedom from headaches.
The Destination Management Company should be cognisant of the quality of service providers and contract accordingly. The Meeting Planner can only guess and hope for the best.
Knowing whom to call upon, what and how to negotiate, the proven quality of services to be provided, and the office, staff and credit resources to conduct business are welcome resources for the Meeting Planner and make their task easier.
Using a DMC avoids duplication or extra work, and enhances and gives support to the program and the Meeting Planner.
The advantages of using a comprehensive, well established DMC include the facts that the staff are often creative people who can offer their clients first hand knowledge of destinations, as well as local buying power.
The Destination Management Company is most useful when the event is held in a location with which the hiring Meeting Planner is not familiar.
Rather than try to make arrangements long distance with unknown persons and companies, it is prudent to select a reputable Destination Management Company in the city of service to handle local logistics.
What Is a Destination Management Company?
A Destination Management Company (DMC) is a locally based, for-profit tourism business whose function is to provide groups – and individuals – with services to meet their travel, meeting, and entertainment interests and needs at a specific time and place.
It may be a one person home based business or it may be an international company with 500 employees located in key cities.
What does the Destination Management Company do?
The Destination Management Company helps an organisation with its site selection, hotel accommodation, convention registration, ground transportation, sight-seeing, convention temporary staff, spouse programs, dining, entertainment and speakers, linens, floral arrangements, photographers, etc.
In essence, it will do almost anything and everything – customised to the client’s needs and budget.
How a DMC Works –
A destination management company can be a small, one full-time person operation or it can go to the other extreme and be an international business with offices in several cities throughout the world.
A recent trend is for small local destination management companies to be bought up and made part of a national company.
Another recent trend is for small local destination management companies to join national or global networks.
These consolidation efforts reflect the importance of destination management companies and their acceptance.
Some tips on utilising the services of a DMC –
Once a meeting planner is interested in the location and has tentative dates and numbers, the DMC can arrange a site visit, or familiarisation tour (also known as a “FAM Trip”) so the organisational representative can become familiar with the site.
In reviewing the proposed program, the meeting planner can suggest ways to reduce costs such as reducing the number of nights in the city or offering optionals at the expense of the participant.
Discuss with the DMC items such as airport transfers, hotel accommodations, meal service, hospitality desks, sight-seeing and tours, theme events, room amenities and gifts.
A big item is ground transportation. DMCs are experts in this area.
The conference attendees who know there is transportation provided to move them between hotels and convention centres, or take them sight-seeing or shopping, etc. are grateful attendees.
Ask for airport meet and greet, general pickups and delivery for VIPs. A little pampering can go a long way.
What kind of theme parties or special events does the DMC suggest? He knows local customs and resources and perhaps can arrange for after-hours shopping in an exclusive store, a special museum tour and dinner, or other goodies not known or easily available to an “outsider.”
Will the hotels provide hospitality desks or can the DMC assume this responsibility?
For what special product is the city known, and how can this product be an integral part of your meeting?
The DMC may have special connections enabling him to secure that special souvenir which makes your meeting an event to remember.
Whatever you discuss and agree upon, do put it in writing.
There should be a contract between the organisational representative, the DMC and the hotel(s) stating specific requirements for deposits, amounts and dates due, and cancellation fees.
Expect prompt billing and be ready to pay on time.
Remember, the DMC is human, too. Treat him accordingly.
When You Want to Share the Wealth –
Some organisations may want all the services a Destination Management Company can offer; others may need only one or two.
DMCs are willing to negotiate charges. Payment for services rendered is generally based on a per person amount or a percentage of the meeting budget.
It is rare but not unusual for Destination Management Companies to provide all services for clients.
The DMC contracts out parts of its business as well as working with client staff responsible for the event and location staff.
Some regard the Meeting Planner as one-third of a pie. The other two-thirds are the supplier of services (the Destination Management Company) and the hotel Conference and Banqueting Division.
The three together make a whole pie, assuring a satisfactory event.
How Does One Find a Reputable DMC?
Most destination cities have a Convention Bureau. The Convention Bureau most likely publishes and distributes an annual Meeting Planning Guide which lists convention facilities and service providers.
Convention Bureau staff, however, may be willing to share with Meeting Planners the names of DMCs with whose quality of service they are familiar.
As in most things, word of mouth is a good reference. A satisfied customer is the best reference.
Other sources of information include professional meetings industry associations.
Source : http://www.gmiportal.com
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