How to Streamline Vendor Management

How to Plan a Meeting

From venues and caterers to transportation companies and A/V consultants, the typical conference or convention is a hodgepodge of vendors and suppliers. As a meeting planner, it's your job to negotiate a strong contract with each of them before the meeting, and to issue payment for a job well done after it. The more vendors you have, the more onerous the process becomes.

If you want to simplify and streamline the whole ordeal, one solution is to hire a destination management company (DMC).

"Instead of having to go through legal and procurement for every vendor that you've added, with a DMC you have one point of contact, one contract and you're paying one bill," Marty MacKay, president of the global DMC alliance Hosts Global, tells Successful Meetings' Vincent Alonzo.

Of course, DMCs won't just make it easier to manage and pay vendors. They also can make it easier to find them in the first place, which can be especially helpful in new destinations.

"DMCs are experts at vetting the vendors in a local destination, and being able to secure and bring together a group of local vendors and staff to put on a program. This process can be time consuming for planners -- especially if they're not familiar with a destination," explains MacKay, who says DMCs have knowledge that search engines don't. "The internet might make it easier to find suppliers -- you can Google anything -- but the challenge is finding the right vendors. It's very easy to misrepresent a company online. A company can claim to have the ability to do arrivals and departures for 200 people, but how many vehicles do they have to get that done? A DMC would have that information, because they've vetted all the vendors in every category that you might need in that destination."

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