I absolutely love working on international events, especially when it comes to destination incentives. Incentive trips are exciting, rewarding, and most of all challenging – but in a good way! All of the delegates involved are always excited and eager to partake in the great activities, wonderful dinners, and experiences on offer. As a Venue Consultant at venuepot, there are some things I have learned along the way when it comes to choosing a DMC. First of all…
Why choose a DMC?
Once you have chosen the incentive destination for the client the next process is often deciding whether we need to use a Destination Management Company, (DMC)? Choosing a DMC, and seeing if you need one, is a big task. You need to ask yourself, how well do you know the destination? Are there any challenges you may face that a DMC could help with? Do you speak enough of the language of the destination or would you require assistance? How big is the event? Just speaking louder and sign language is not effective communication (surely the universal sign of holding an imaginary knife and fork to demonstrate its time for dinner still works, right?). These factors are very important when considering if a DMC is needed for your event. A DMC can be a great asset to any event and they should be an extension of your team, working towards the same goal. This provokes the question – how do we go about choosing the right DMC?
Choosing the right DMC
Choosing the right DMC can be a challenge, as you may only get to meet them once before you go on site, which often proves to be a problem as the DMC is supposed to be there to help you put together the best event possible for your client. You have to trust that they will work well with your team, perhaps never having worked together before. You will need them to work alongside you, as you are producing the event of a lifetime, as well as working together to communicate your needs with the hotel, you will need to be able to communicate with the activity hosts, and coach companies, as well as the dinner venues. With all those tasks at hand, you could get on site, and the DMC chosen may not be helpful at all, or may not have actually done anything that they promised. This can indeed be a worry, as you are putting your trust in this company, and you want to ensure that you are doing the best you can for the client.
You may be faced with numerous potential DMC’s for a destination, but how do you know which one will give you the best options? A piece of advice… Always do your research on who you can choose to be the right DMC for your destination incentive. Find out who knows all those little hideaway ‘gem’ dinner locations that you might not know about, and someone who can work well with you on site under pressure, as well as being a team player and ensuring all the delegates are in the right place and the right time.
The truth is, you can’t really know for sure who will be a good DMC, until you are there working side by side on the event, however, there are things you can do to try and ensure that you can both work well together.
The best advice I could give is to get recommendations or go through management companies who you may have worked with previously, as they usually have good contacts on their books and can mediate if there are any issues along the way. Once the shortlist is agreed, ask for testimonials: Have they dealt with a group of this size before? Did your destination event go as planned with this DMC? Ask questions – can they deliver what you need? Speak with previous companies they have worked with if you can, to establish if they can deliver what they promise.
The next step would be to see what they can offer, and how creative they are. Once you have sent them the brief, it’s important to see how well have they responded to what you have requested, have they put forward the best options that suit your needs? Have they thought about the fact that you don’t want any more than a 30-minute transfer from the hotel, you have asked for a dinner outside, but are concerned about the weather. There is nothing worse than saying I DON‘T WANT WINE TASTING and they present you with 6 pages of great wine tasting tours…. JUST NO!
At this point there are five proposals in front of you, you’ve whittled down them candidates, and are now faced with choosing who to proceed with. The prior research completed should help make the decision on who the right DMC for your incentive event. Of course, we want the event to be perfect, but be sure to pick someone with a vibrant professional personality, as they will be a representation of you. Finally, once the DMC has been chosen, it’s always good to have a general catch up with them in order to get to know them better. Once you are on site, you will know immediately if you have chosen the right DMC. You will work in sync together, they will respond quickly to enquiries and have all the knowledge on the client and proposal, which makes the whole experience completely amazing.
Roxanne Smith – Venue Consultant at venuepot