Should You Get a DMC ASAP?

(Part 1 of an ADME article)

OK. You’ve got your PDA, your WiFi, your iPod. They’ve
become indispensable, no doubt. But do you have a DMC? What!?! It’s 2006 and you’re operating without a DMC, anindispensable acronymic essential for any company? We all know the logistics nightmares and problems that can happen with travel and special events – bad food, hidden costs, broken promises and general screw-ups. Enter the DMC –destination management company – to alleviate all sorts of headaches that can befall even the best of planners. And even full-time planners. Chris Sullentrop with Maritz Travel Company has been coordinating travel events for 20 years. Maritz, a $1 billion-plus corporation with offices or affiliates in 1,600 locations in 60 countries, manages 2,000 meetings and incentive travel programs each year.

“I use a DMC everywhere we have an event,” Sullentrop said. “you can’t know everything about a place. A DMC knows the area and can get you into places. Plus, it’s a huge timesaver for me.” “Traditionally I do not use a DMC locally,” said Brooke Sommers, Manager of Events and Field Communication for Sun Microsystems, Louisville, Colorado. “But The Arrangers (based in Denver) proved to me why I would use [one] again. Even in one’s own backyard there is nothing like utilizing a company that can put together events with such expertise, leaving nothing to chance.” That “nothing-to-chance” logistics management, both prior to and at the event, is crucial. Holly Holliday, Marketing Manager with Sun Microsystems, worked with Destination Nashville recently on a large conference. “Their ability to fully manage the logistics of our event enabled me to focus on our customers and increase ROI!” Holliday said. Without this
service, the conference would have been far less productive. “A destination management company represents the goals and objectives of its client as it leverages its relationships and purchasing power,” says Susan Henderson, DMCP,
CMP, President of the Association of Destination Management Executives (ADME). “Because a DMC is familiar with service quality and reliability in numerous locales, it gives the client a definite advantage. We’ll deal with the
vendors,   negotiating in the best interest of the client, and stay within budget to get the client the best of everything they need.”

Typically a DMC might:

• Create, communicate and manage timelines for all events/activities and the successful execution of program elements

• Plan, manage, and execute group arrival and departure manifests and changes

• Oversee and manage all consumption of alcohol; proactively manage the safety concerns with alcohol consumption

• Investigate possible corporate conflicts, competitor meetings and security levels

• Select and recommend menu options, portion sizes, etc. compatible with all hotel food functions to eliminate redundancies
and incompatibilities

• Implement activities consistent with meeting goals (i.e. teambuilding, ice breaking, social opportunities, relaxing and reward/recognition opportunities)

• Evaluate and select entertainment options appropriate for group and client objectives; manage entertainment contracts and rider requirements

• Showcase unique elements of the meeting destination; create exclusive opportunities unavailable to the general public and unknown by the client.

“It comes down to understanding the clients’ vision, or giving them ideas and specifics, and following through on all the details, plus the unexpected circumstances,” said ADME President Susan Henderson. For Allie Hunt, Entertainment Marketing Manager with 24 Hour Fitness, the unexpected included flight changes, one missed flight and a missing camera. Advantage Destination & Meeting Services in Miami was the DMC on top of that situation that solved all problems. “Everything ran flawlessly,” Hunt said of the event. “The [DMC] staff was extremely helpful and friendly and made us feel as though we were their top priority.” Karen Groth, Marketing Specialist with GE Commercial Finance, worked with a DMC on a customer event in Atlanta. Her satisfaction and appreciation culminated in her writing a thank you letter to Atlanta Arrangements from her home computer just after her event : “Let me begin by quoting my CEO at the conclusion of our event,” Groth wrote. “PERFECT, SIMPLY PERFECT!!! I wouldn’t have changed a thing!” It’s a sentiment echoed by many who have elected to use a DMC. Foremost for many who choose a DMC is the creativity and “flair” a DMC brings to meetings, special events, teambuilding and similar situations. A DMC can seize upon a theme or corporate message and capitalize on its momentum and enthusiasm. A DMC can also analyze and evaluate appropriate venues and activities suited to match the demographics and size of the group.

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