How DMCs and Destination Organizations Find Success Through Collaboration
17 January 2024
There are fewer things more exciting than a group trip! From corporate conferences to large social gatherings, planning an event in a destination away from home is quite an undertaking. Thankfully, event professionals have the opportunity to partner with onsite experts in the locale of their choice.
Destination Management Companies, or DMCs, are professional services companies possessing extensive local knowledge, expertise, and resources, specializing in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation, and program logistics. Destination Organizations, or DOs, are not-for-profit organizations that represent a specific location, promoting the community as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work.
Both of these resources can be incredibly helpful for event organizers. However, the common misconception that DMCs and DOs are competitors can lead to one or the other being underutilized by potential clients. In reality, DOs and DMCs can become powerful collaborators.
Why Collaboration Matters
No matter how successful a DMC or DO is on its own, combining resources with their counterpart offers significant benefits. In any workplace, collaboration is an underused, but highly effective tool. Collaborating with other professionals can expand one’s network, knowledge, and resources.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s all about who you know.” Relationships are integral to success in every field — even more so in the event destination sphere. Event planning and management is inherently fast-paced and high-pressure, and it always helps to have reliable partners to call when you are facing a new challenge. Many DMCs and DOs are happy to help other destination professionals whenever they can!
Regardless of how many years you have in the event destination business, there’s always more to learn. Building relationships with other professionals is a fantastic way to expand your own expertise — and to sha
re what you know with others as well!
Looking for the perfect vendor for an upcoming event? Need advice for a transportation hiccup? Your relationships with professionals in other organizations can provide helpful information that you may not have been able to access quickly on your own.
When DOs and DMCs join forces, they have the power to create a harmonious and impactful partnership that boosts their respective networks, knowledge, and resources. While DOs are often tasked with “selling” their city on a larger scale, DMCs are experts in all the small details. Ultimately, this drives destination success — which is the end goal for both organizations!
Denise Malo, DMCP with BBC Events in New Orleans and Association of Destination Management Executives (ADMEI) President-Elect, explains, “When you look at a puzzle box, you choose by the picture that speaks to you and the number of pieces it offers, yet when those pieces are laid out, it can be quite overwhelming. Without help, putting those pieces in the right place can be daunting.” She continues, “Meetings and events are much like a puzzle. DOs are there to help you select the right puzzle based on what picture and size is right for your group. DMCs navigate through all the pieces to ensure they are each placed in the right hands to complete the final picture.”
How DMCs and DOs Collaborate
Destination Organizations are often focused on bringing tourism into a city on a large scale. Destination Management Companies offer the perfect balance to that big picture, as they typically specialize in details — from specific venues and vendors to transportation logistics and unique activities. When DOs build relationships with DMCs, they can highlight those specifics to potential visitors from the beginning of the sales process.
For example, if an organization is looking to host a 10,000-person conference in a city, a DO may be their first point of contact. The DO can find out what this particular organization is looking for, and then get in touch with a trusted DMC partner to find out which venues will work best. While a Google search from the DO may pull up a large venue that’s available on the requested dates, a DMC could let them know about a better location with simpler transportation options or nearby accommodations. DOs work to bring revenue into a location, and DMCs work to bring the best deals to their DO partners. This showcases the city well and achieves both goals!
While collaborating is a worthy goal, it’s important to recognize that building trust takes time for both DOs and DMCs. Some are working to break down an “us versus them” mentality from the past, and others have had unhelpful collaborative experiences in the past. However, new bridges can be built through education, consistent communication, and a commitment to overcoming challenges together.
According to Emily Scheiderer, Senior Director of Education, Sales, and Services at Destinations International, “We saw the far-reaching impacts that the pandemic had had on our workforce, the expansion of those issues at large, and the challenges that exceeded any individual destination or any individual organization. We knew now more than ever, there was a need for collaboration, for resource sharing, and for a cohesive approach to the development of our communities, the development of our organizations, and the development of our industry.”
ADMEI and Destinations International conducted an insightful webinar exploring how DOs and DMCs can join forces. Panelists included a planner, DMC, and DO. The webinar is now available on-demand, and ADMEI has made it free to the industry. View Webinar.
As we all continue to find new ways of gathering, traveling, and collaborating, we are presented with the perfect opportunity to build DO and DMC relationships like never before. If you represent a Destination Organization that is looking to build trusted DMC relationships, consult ADMEI’s list of DMCs.
ADMEI is the premier global DMC organization, committed to upholding the highest level of professionalism and establishing ethical business practices. Our Accredited Destination Management Company (ADMC) program is designed to elevate professional standards and designate firms that demonstrate advanced knowledge and experience essential to the practice of Destination Management. When you choose an ADMC-accredited company, you’re choosing a trusted and experienced partner who can truly help your DO — and your city — thrive.