What Do Destination Management Companies (DMCs) Do?

A Local Professional Resource for Out-of-Town Event Planning

event planner preparing in dining room
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A destination management company, also commonly referred to as a DMC, is a third-party firm that is commonly hired to provide professional services for the planning and implementation of out-of-town event programs and services. The value of a destination management company primarily rests in the company's extensive knowledge of the local area as well as its professional relationships and local resources. A DMC can be of great help to a corporate event and meeting planner who has been charged with coordinating an out-of-town event.

Who Hires DMC's?

Any event planner may choose to work with a DMC if the event is outside of their local area. The reasons are simple:

  • Only a local planner knows which caterers, transportations services, hotels, and other facilities will provide the best service within the available budget.
  • A local planner understands cultural norms and expectations--and knows when prices are being jacked up or unnecessary extras are being added to a bill.
  • A local planner knows where and how to find the best entertainment, freshest food, most helpful staff, and best travel routes.

What a Destination Management Company (DMC) Does

A destination management company (DMC) maintains in-depth local knowledge of the area and/or region they represent, specifically with regards to the local coordination and implementation of everything from program and event logistics to event activities. In short, a DMC is essentially a highly specialized consultant for practically every aspect of out-of-town event programming.

As a local consultant, most of a DMC's services fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Program Design (such as venue selection and booking, organization of event activities, and even event decor)
  • Logistics Management (such as event timeline and schedule, transportation, and even coordination of guest arrivals and departures)
  • Supplier Management (such as vendor selection and supplier price negotiation)
  • Accounting (such as auditing and payment of vendor invoices, financial negotiations, and providing detailed accounting to client)

A DMC can assist a corporate event planner in coordinating transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, and local activities. But while a DMC maintains relationships with all hospitality-related services in their area, the firm's primary service is the organization and planning of the main event itself whether it be a gala dinner, corporate meeting or conference, or even a corporate incentive trip.

In addition to providing local expertise, a DMC also acts as one key contact throughout the event planning process. Often, the DMC will also be able to leverage lower prices by using their large purchasing power to negotiate for preferential rates with local vendors and suppliers. In non-English speaking countries, a DMC may also help to overcome language barriers.

How to Hire One

Destination management companies often belong to the Association of Destination Management Executives (ADME), a premier resource for education, standards, and practices for the DMC industry. The ADME is also involved in the certification of destination management professionals and the accreditation of destination management companies.

If you are looking for a DMC, the ADME manages a directory of all of its members by region, which provides a great place to start your search. The DMCs listed in the ADME directory all meet the association's membership criteria which includes requirements for the services the DMC provides as well as other important requirements like carrying an adequate level general liability insurance.