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This is a guest post by Jo Egan. She is a Partner at Hotel Desk, a UK based venue finding agency, for 11 years. Prior to that Jo worked on events on the client side for corporates including RBS and Volvo Cars. Hotel Desk provides free venue finding services for meetings, conferences, events etc, to many corporate clients.
With the global business world becoming increasingly more accessible, event managers are often required to work outside of their local turf and, therefore, their own local knowledge. This is where a Destination Management Company (DMC) comes in.
To be found in all top event destinations and countries, DMCs provide invaluable event management services local to their area, and can organise anything from hotels, restaurants and entertainment, to transportation and transfers, destination tours, security, promotional staff and more!
Successfully incorporating these seemingly smaller details is what helps make an event a real success, and what’s more, hiring a DMC doesn’t provide all the hassle you might think.
When to Use a DMC
If you’re organising an event in an unfamiliar location, for a big conference, exhibition or convention or something that incorporates elements outside the venue itself (like sales incentives, restaurant bookings or transportation), you’ll benefit greatly from a local DMC whose contacts can help run your event, source credible local suppliers and negotiate special rates to minimise costs.
Resolving an unexpected coach break down or traffic jam, organising emergency hospital treatment, tracking down lost passports or dealing with entertainment no-shows might seem like run of the mill problems, but imagine trying to manage them yourself in a strange new location where language, currency and even custom barriers stand in the way. In the post ‘5 Wrong Moves that Could De-rail Your Event’, choosing an incorrect event location and lack of local experience comes in at number one!
DMCs can also be helpful with smaller tasks like taking care of event management, security, promotional staff or set up and break down crews to reduce the transportation and accommodation costs of taking along your own team. It’s even advised that small bookings at restaurants and organising transfers should be channelled through a DMC who knows which premises can accommodate group bookings and negotiate special menus.
How to Find a DMC
Although DMCs are scattered over most locations, some are more suited to certain types of events and sizes. Choosing the DMC and point of contact that’s most suited to your event requirements is key, so it’s best to abide by these basic rules of procurement.
- DMCs from across the globe showcase their services at travel trade shows like IMEX and EIBTM, making these events perfect for discussing your brief in person and getting a feel for how well you could work together.
- If you can’t attend these shows, utilise DMC networks and representation companies. They not only manage and promote DMCs who’ll work to a certain criteria, but offer an additional level of reassurance by channelling initial briefs via multiple destinations before a final location is identified.
- Online network tools and EM groups on social media platforms such as LinkedIn are great for obtaining a list of global DMCs, along with their case studies and references.
- Use your existing contacts to obtain recommendations and, if you have a location and list of venues in mind, ask your contacts at these venues to recommend credible local agents.
In Conclusion: Some Tips
- Always source a minimum of three potential DMCs and request like for like quotes.
- Ask for a full breakdown of their fees and commissions, as some DMCs may apply an event management fee and others obtain commissions from suppliers.
- Ask to be advised of local best practices like tipping or exchanging gifts. In certain cultures DMCs themselves will expect to exchange gifts with you.
- Always meet your DMC and sourced suppliers at your chosen venue to run through all aspects of your event and the services they’ll be providing, establish reporting lines and discuss contingency options for travel delays.
- Never cut out a DMC to save costs. An effective DMC will more of less cover their fees and commission income by the negotiations and special rates they acquire.
Photo by Eugene Kaspersky