11 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a DMC
08 November 2023
Planning an event from afar can be difficult. To simplify the process, save money, and eliminate stress, consider hiring a Destination Management Company. A DMC can help you plan and execute events with excellence — but it’s important to hire the right team.
Questions to Ask a Potential DMC Partner
As you reach out to potential event partners, these questions can help you determine which DMC is the best fit for you.
1. Are you an accredited DMC?
Before you dive into event specifics, it’s important to learn about your potential event partner. Companies that meet Accredited Destination Management Company (ADMC) standards are guaranteed to be licensed, a registered business for at least 5 years, have a certified event professional (DMCP) on staff, and maintain at least three full-time employees to meet your needs as a client.
And that’s not all you can expect from ADMCs! Accredited companies provide at least four of the five core DMC services:
- Tours and Activities
- Event Management
- Program Logistics
These companies also maintain:
- Standard Monday through Friday office hours
- A functional website and operating email account(s) with a private domain
- Comprehensive insurance, including a minimum of $2 million General Liability
- Compliance with all applicable laws and regulations
- Adherence to ADMEI’s Code of Ethical Conduct
Working with an ADMC-accredited company ensures that you’ll be working with a reputable and experienced partner in your selected destination.
2. Does your staff hold any industry designations?
Ensuring that the staff you work with possess the appropriate industry designations is a critical aspect of collaborating with them. Be sure to inquire whether their personnel hold any industry certifications, such as Destination Management Certified Professional (DMCP), Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP), or any other relevant qualifications. Additionally, it's worth checking if the company is a member of a DMC consortium.
3. Do you belong to any professional organizations in the industry?
Participation in professional industry organizations demonstrates that the DMC is consistently acquiring industry insights and upholding its commitment to maintaining high-quality skills and services. It's a good idea to confirm whether they are active members of organizations such as the Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI), International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE), International Live Events Association (ILEA), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), or other relevant associations.
4. Where are your headquarters and staff located?
Chances are, you’re working with a DMC because you’re looking for an expert in your chosen locale. You want a company that knows its city well and has built excellent relationships with venues and vendors in the area. To get these things and more, you’ll want to work with a DMC that is truly local — or at the very least, has an office in your event’s city with full-time local staff. Many DMCs have sales staff in the city, but having operational staff onsite is what makes all the difference.
Want to make sure your DMC partner has a good sense of the local scene and aligns with your taste and vision? Ask them, “What are your favorite things about your city?” Locally owned DMCs, or DMCs with full-time local staff, will have an answer ready for you — and their lists of top attractions, dining spots, and activities will tell you a lot about their style.
5. How do you approach vendor relationships?
One of the advantages of working with a DMC is gaining secondhand access to their vendor network. Partner with a company that’s taken the time to form positive relationships with venues and vendors of all kinds. Often, DMCs can even negotiate lower pricing than you could on your own! Ask them about their preferred vendors, because a DMC with strong relationships in the area is a definite plus.
6. Can you tell me about your largest group or event?
This question will help you understand if your DMC’s services are scalable to fit your needs and preferences. As they explain the who, what, when, and how of their biggest project to date, you’ll get a sense of their capabilities to bring your event vision to life.
Questions to Ask Yourself
As you reach out to potential DMC partners for an upcoming event, do some research and ask yourself the following questions.
7. Does the DMC have membership or partnership with other organizations in its area?
Collaborating with a well-respected DMC that has a strong presence in the community is a valuable sign of their involvement and expertise. It's advisable to reach out to local organizations and inquire about any partnerships your DMC may have with them.
Ask the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) or Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) in the city or cities where the program will be to provide their three top DMC recommendations. A CVB or DMO is an organization defined and recognized by its status as an incorporated, non-profit agency or local government entity, which promotes the economic development of the community through travel and tourism. CVBs assist planners by providing information on local resources and services, site selection, and other pre-conference and post-convention services.
8. How long has the DMC been open?
Many companies open and close each year. A DMC that has existed for a length of time has shown that its operation has a proven track record of success. Confirm how long the DMC has been open and determine if it meets your expectations.
9. Do they have good reviews?
A good DMC partner will have excellent testimonials — and plenty of them! Quality and quantity both matter. Good reviews indicate a high level of client satisfaction, and lots of reviews tell you that your potential DMC partner has years of experience.
10. Are they responsive communicators?
When your event is underway, you need to be able to reach your DMC partner with urgent questions or needs. Good communication is essential — and the response time after your initial inquiry and during subsequent conversations is a great indicator of a DMC’s reliability and promptness.
11. Do they have a robust and diverse portfolio?
No matter what kind of event you plan to host, make sure your DMC partner has experience in events like yours — not just events in general. For example, if the primary purpose of your event is entertainment, you should choose a DMC that’s well-versed in sourcing entertainment venues and partnering with AV companies. If you’re planning an activity-packed travel tour, work with a DMC who’s skilled in coordinating transportation and booking accommodations and activities for large groups. Experience in multiple areas is always a plus, as it shows you that your DMC partner is an experienced resource for any of your event needs.
These eleven questions can simplify the process of hiring a DMC and assist you in making the best possible decision for your upcoming event. To get started, browse ADMEI’s directory of DMCs to find reputable and experienced partners who can bring your event to life in any locale!