Wednesday, August 1, 2012

DMC + Event Planner = A Successful Event!

As a Corporate Communications Analyst at OCC and having worked in the marketing and event planning world for five years, I have seen how DMCs can oftentimes spell the difference between event success and event flop.  If you’ve never tried, you should consider bringing a DMC on board if:
  • The number of expected attendees to your event over 100x the number of dedicated staff members you have working on executing it
  • Your event located in a new, unfamiliar region
  • Your event contains numerous components, i.e. lodging, transportation, reception venues, leisure outings, décor, gifts, etc.
Photo courtesy of Culinary Crafts and DK Event Planning and Design
A destination management company (DMC) is an outsourced, professional services company that specializes in event planning and event logistics. The job of a DMC is to represent you and your company, handling vendor negotiations and taking on the role as the local expert in the region where your event is hosted. Because they can leverage their purchasing power through their existing connections, their involvement typically results in the best quality service in the most money-saving manner. DMCs can pack a 1-2 punch by minimizing stress and cost.

DMCs are usually sought out when a company has to execute a large-scale corporate event with limited in-house resources and in a different city. DMCs are not subject to doing hours of tedious research on venues, reading reviews, setting up vendor meetings and the like because they’ve already established strong working relationships with the top local vendors. They are bringing you the most trusted and well-regarded companies to fulfill certain requirements of your program. This saves your company money and time, so the in-house staff can focus on other aspects, such as program content and marketing promotion for the event. 

Photograph by Krista Rossow, courtesy of National Geographic
DMCs also add that local flavor to your event, making it truly unique. As the authority on all things local, DMCs know the ins and outs of the location/region, and can infuse ideas into your event that you may not have considered. Hiring a local DMC would open you up to the inner circle and network of your particular location, giving you more opportunities to add unique components to your program, further enhancing the event experience for your attendees. Case in point: a DMC my company worked with this past year put together a fantastic Mardi Gras-themed parade for our conference taking place in New Orleans, and needless to say, our 500 attendees were blown away. It’s this kind of experience that all event planners and corporations want their attendees to leave with – memories of a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Here are some steps to locate and procure the right DMC for your next event:
  • Contact the local CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau) for reviews and suggestions of DMCs.
  • Review the top 2-3 DMCs in your meeting/event location/region and submit RFPs (requests for proposals) and set up in-person meetings.
  • Thoroughly review the proposals and make sure all of your questions and expectations are answered and addressed prior to going to contract.
Happy event planning!

Michelle Truong is a graduate student in Northwestern University's Medill School studying Integrated Marketing Communications [IMC] and will be graduating in June 2013. Currently working in corporate communications at OCC, she is interested in brand strategy and consumer insights.  You can contact Michelle via email, connect with her on LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter at @belleshell. For more information on DMCs, visit the Association of Destination Management Executives International at ADME.

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