DMC Direct: What Meeting Planners Really Want From Destination Management Companies

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GEP meets directly with hundreds of meeting professionals in key U.S. markets. Post-meeting survey of 30 clients provides candid answers to challenging questions. - Pricing and transparency are still key issues. - But speed of program delivery, cost-effectiveness and vendor responsiveness are even more important. - Nothing sells like access: Local market knowledge and expertise are critical. - Something new: More than 90% of planners say “issues external to the DMC industry”, such as dollar pricing power, and security, impact their willingness to plan events outside the U.S.

In late 2005, Global Events Partners (GEP), a partnership of destination management companies worldwide, conducted a survey of partner DMCs to find out where the business was headed in 2006.

In May, 2006, it turned the tables and brought DMCs directly to top U.S. customers - and in response to challenging questions, got some answers it anticipated . . .and some it did not.

After meeting with DMCs from as far away as Germany, Morocco and Peru, top planners in key U.S. markets responded to a GEP survey by indicating what factors most impact their working relationships with DMCs.

Here is a snapshot of the answers:

Planners at 30 companies in key cities responded to survey questions, after being visited by GEP DMCs in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Dallas, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angles and San Francisco, over a five-day period in mid-May.

Among those responding to the surveys:

  • 70% of clients surveyed believe pricing, transparency, and total event cost are still key issues – but even more, 90%, said speed of program delivery, cost-effectiveness and vendor responsiveness are even more important .

While almost all clients agreed that saving time and money are significant benefits of working with a DMC, many went out of their way to say that DMC responsiveness and “bang for the buck” are decisive – indicating that when it comes to corporate events, value for the money, and the ability of a DMC to convey that dollars are being spent wisely, is at least as important as the total budget allocated.

  • Sentiment was equally strong on the question of “access”: - Almost all planners agreed that when selecting a DMC, local market knowledge and access to unique venues and attractions are critical.

90% of respondents agreed with the statement that “Local market access/expertise are among the most important benefits of working with a DMC.”

  • There were some surprises and new findings among the responses, specifically on the impact of factors beyond the control of DMCs:
  • 93% of planners indicated that issues external to the DMC industry (such as the pricing power of the U.S. dollar, security issues or terrorist threats) impacted their willingness to commit to events outside the U.S.
  • 87% responded that uniform standards among a network of DMCs influence their decision to work with an individual DMC offices, with several planners mentioning this as increasingly important in planning events overseas.
  • More than half agreed with the statement that international DMCs can secure lower hotel rates than working directly with hotels in international markets, with 38% saying they were either unaware of this, or disagreed that it is the case.

Commenting on the survey results and on the series of meetings between GEP DMCs and corporate clients, Chris White, GEP’s Chairman and CEO, said: “We are pleased to share these results, after a week-long effort to get closer to our clients than ever before.”

He continued: “It’s clear that the DMC business remains, more than ever, a relationship industry, in spite of technology and the alleged ‘commoditization’ of our business.” “We remain committed to making sure our Partners know what is on planners’ minds – and assuring that planners know the full scope of resources that GEP offers them.”

White concluded, “We were proud to bring DMCs from all corners of the globe to many of the key U.S. markets where planners are, right now, allocating resources for the rest of 2006 and into 2007. After the positive reception we got, we plan to make this an annual event and a business-building highlight of the GEP year.”

For more information on the GEP Partner tour of U.S. cities or the methodology employed in the survey, or to interview any of the GEP participants for further details, please contact

About Global Events Partners (GEP)

Launched in 1999, Global Events Partners’ portfolio includes more than 60 leading destination management companies (DMCs) around the world. A DMC is a professional services company possessing extensive local knowledge and resources, specializing in the design and execution of group tours, transportation, events, activities and program logistics. GEP partners provide consistently high quality DMC services in the most desirable locations worldwide. For more information on Global Events Partners, visit


Michael Frenkel, MFC PR

(212) 808-6556

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