For people who organise international events, the term Destination Management Company, or DMC, as we’ll refer to it in this article, is not new. But time is changing, and so is the role and definition of a DMC that constantly evolves to respond to the challenges and market needs.
For people who are just starting out in the event industry, it is important to understand the wide scope of services that a DMC can provide and how they can support event planners and individuals looking for “on the ground” support, and how to best work with them to build long term relationships.
We have decided to write this post to support event professionals who are looking to plan their event abroad, when they will seek the help of a local DMC to support either with the entire event or a selection of specific services. This post will give you a detailed overview of the basic services a DMC can provide, but also what else event planners can expect from a DMC to handle.
What is a DMC?
Our traditional definition of a DMC is: “The DMC is an incoming agency (based at the destination) and offers a range of event and tourism related services to support tour operators (mainly for private travellers) and event planners (for corporate event). The DMC has an extensive knowledge of the country or the destination within the country where it operates. The range of services that a DMC can assist with and provide include, but not limited to, planning and managing of group tours, assisting with transportation, group bookings, design incentives or team building programmes, help with translations and local culture, serve as a consultant, assist with formalities (e.g. – permits from local authorities) and any other possible requests, no matter how unusual or complicates it might be, a good DMC will be able to advise and support planners seeking to host an event abroad. Furthermore, the DMC possesses an extensive local knowledge of suppliers and resources that give it a competitive advantage to negotiate better rates for clients.
How the definition and role of a DMC has evolved over the years
Our industry is not standing still, and the role, as well as the scope of services provided by a DMC has evolved over the years. From being just “the local partner on the ground”, the role has become more strategic to meet the overall event objectives. It’s not only about “how can we get our delegates from A to B and get the best accommodation rates”, it’s also about how the choice of the venue will help to tell the brand story, and how the food will be locally sourced to make the event more sustainable and how this event will contribute to leaving a lasting legacy on a destination and the community.
Furthermore, the DMC plays an important role in representing and promoting the destination to the world, same as would a national tourism organisation or a convention bureau, but on a smaller scale. As opposed to government organisations, a DMC is privately held and operated, and therefore doesn’t have “members” but instead partner suppliers with whom it usually works and these are carefully selected.
Thanks to the ease of use of social media, the DMCs today have all they need at their fingertips to promote a destination and be local ambassadors – be it via images, blog articles or videos, a DMC plays an important part in showcasing the destination and contributing to attracting corporate events.
At the same time, a DMC has a responsibility to develop a long term and sustainable tourism flow to the destination and not over commercialise the product, ensuring the well-being of the local culture and residents.
As a way to share our knowledge and educate our readers about MICE in Italy, we write a regular blog to share information about the diverse destinations, suppliers, group activities, seasons, gastronomy and local culture. All these elements can be considered by event planners who decided to research the destination and explore their options. The aim of our blog is to guide, filter the noise (Italy is a very popular term on google!) and inspire your next event in Italy.
When to say NO
Organising an incentive or a team building should be done with a great expertise and a very good local knowledge to avoid logistics problems and selling unreliable packages such as:
Staying in Ischia, eating in Capri on a Saturday, and having a Limoncello tasting on the Amalfi coast, in high season and in only two days. We have requests such as this, and our responsibility is to say NO, this is not something that your client, partners or colleagues will enjoy and it will leave a bitter taste of your event and of Italy. If you want something memorable or luxurious it has to be done in a completely different way.
We also always carefully inspect and select vendors and their facilities, as well as making sure that they have all the necessary insurance coverage in place. If a supplier doesn’t have the necessary permits, we’ll communicate this to the client because risk management and compliance are high on our agenda. Italian Special Occasions DMC will do all the paper work for you so you can concentrate on your clients, guests, sponsors and what you do best. We’ll do what we do best with personalised and attentive approach to your needs.
We’ll also say no to clients that don’t respect our work ethics, those who know that a local DMC is a rich source of knowledge and expertise and will try and take advantage. Unfortunately, we have encountered situation where we’ll receive a brief to select venues, and after putting the time and effort into selecting the most suitable locations and send promptly, the potential client disappears, without even acknowledgement email that they have received the suggestions. And experience shows that these clients come back for more..
Hiring a DMC – expense or a way to save money?
We often hear the phrase “we will go or book direct”. In Italy, and we can guess that also in many other destinations, this can incur higher costs. Why? Logistics and local knowledge go hand in hand, and the local DMC has a constant contact with its suppliers. Therefore, a local DMC will always have preferred rates because of the bigger booking volume, and can organise and book the entire trip for the client, saving time and costs on all stages (transportation, rooms, restaurants, guided tours etc.). Not to forget all will be stress free and only one contact person to deal with. Last but not least the DMC will have the latest updates and often information that is not available online. We are very transparent with our event proposals and always recommend our clients to come for a fam trip, inspect the venues, see the destination and assess its suitability for their needs and target audience.
Whether using a DMC to plan an entire event or just parts of it, you can greatly benefit from their expertise. It’s always good to have the contact number of a good DMC to resolve any unexpected issue. That can be a last moment change of venue, an unexpected supplier delay or cancellation, emergency hospital treatment or getting in touch with authorities in case of document loss. This can make a huge difference and make any challenge unnoticed in front of your customers.
What makes Italian Special Occasions DMC the DMC of choice in Italy?
When Italian Special Occasions DMC was founded four years ago it was founded with a vision to transform the way people travel to Italy and host their events here. We wanted to go away from the mainstream, and instead create an authentic experience for our guests.
With three core principles we wanted that our clients will experience Italy differently: through storytelling, sensorial experience and seasonality, and this can be achieved by embracing the local culture of the destination. Through well designed and personalised storytelling, the local elements of the destination can be incorporated into the event to enhance the overall experience. We want that the delegates will feel inspired, empowered and widen their horizons when they embrace the local environment.
By being consistent with our strategy to promote Italy in this innovative way, we have become the local leader of “off the beaten path” and “off season” travel and events in Italy. We want to sustainably develop the cities that are shadowed by the big ones, and promote the low seasons in touristic hubs to let our customers to see the real beauty of Italy.
If you want to know more about Italy, our services and how we can support your event or group travel, get in touch.