Destination management companies can be a planner's secret weapon for pulling off an exemplary event, but only 10 percent typically take advantage of their services, according to research by Northstar Meetings Group (Successful Meetings' parent company).
What are the other 90 percent missing out on? We asked Marty MacKay, DMCP, president of Hosts Global's alliance of more than 300 destination management companies around the world, how DMCs can be an asset to the planning team.What is the main reason planners use DMCs?
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.
It also saves time during the contract and payment processes, where, 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.
Beyond that, we're ready to help when you're trying to create an experience for a group that's got more depth than what the average visitor to a destination would enjoy.
Can't planners just research suppliers online?
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.
Similarly, planners might go online and see that a restaurant has five stars and is the most sought-after eatery in town, and make a decision to take their group of 20 to the place based on that information. But the local DMC will know that this particular establishment cannot serve a group of 20 in a timely fashion because it's a boutique restaurant with a staff that's used to bringing out two plates at a time, and they simply will not live up to the service standard of a group.
What does a DMC do on-site?
A planner is pulled in somany different directions, between focusing on the content and the messaging of a program, and the logistics of managing a large group of people. We, in effect, become an extension of the planner's staff on-site.
The DMC can be a big help in managing the logistics and jumping in when unexpected distractions pop up. It can be something trivial, such as, "Oh my gosh, it's so-and-so's birthday, we need a cake," to something really serious like getting an attendee to a hospital. That's not where planners' energies should be focused -- they should be worried about the next presentation and the speaker who's going up onstage. Partnering with a DMC lets them do that, while knowing that the surprises are being handled effectively.
This article appears in the December 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.