In a recent CMN video report, Roni Feldman talks about what a DMC – destination management company is and their evolution over the past few decades. Below is my perspective from the inside of the event ecosystem, or what I see working inside a DMC in Canada.
“Value” has been the buzzword, the mandatory ingredient, a required differentiator, since the global recession began in 2008. It is the final stop in choosing a destination – one that as DMCs we are very familiar with. For many of our clients, we have remained a strong partner, knowledgeable in the destination, creative in seeking solutions that maintain program integrity within budget guidelines, and enjoyable to work with in delivering memorable programs.
We have also seen another trend that is more troubling. Along with this shift to value has been the age of “Google me.” We have seen a number of clients who have put aside the notion of value that was associated with a strong DMC partner in a destination, and using Google will DIY elements of a program. While done with the best of intentions – due diligence, cutting budget – this can lead to suggestions or requests for specific venues or activities, often basing this on the sales material found on the Internet. When I say it is troubling, it is because the information found on the Internet is often not geared to creating a great group experience, whether you have 30 VIPs, 300 incentive trip winners/spouses or 3,000 attending your meeting.
With any great DMC in any destination in the world, it is indeed the depth of local knowledge and strong supplier partnerships that will set your program apart. Let’s face it: when things are smooth, all flights are on time, the weather is perfect, there are no traffic induced delays, every supplier exceeds expectations, DIY will likely work out for you in the end. When you need to have a program run seamlessly, so that any hiccup along the way remains that, a hiccup, then having an on-the-ground partner that knows the venues, activities and the people involved in the success of your program becomes a critical factor in the success.
Is there a cost for this? Yes, of course there is. It will be fair and based on the reality that there is work involved – from the initial response to the proposal with creative, logistically sound ideas being presented, to the final guest leaving, and all the inevitable twists and turns that will come up along the way as information is presented, reviewed, dissected, changed and eventually delivered to the delight of the guests, and exceeding the expectations of the stakeholders. Is it worth it? In my experience (including 13 years as a planner for a professional conference organizer, and event producer at an incentive agency – both hiring DMCs), finding the right DMC and developing a program that has to be topped year over year is worth every penny. In my experience, thoughtfully developing programs and creative events within a DMC for these same clients (as well as direct corporate planners), yes. We work really hard to know our community and to offer you the best for your specific group’s needs.
When your programs get the best evaluations, securing your position further as an asset to driving your organization’s objectives forward, we are all successful.