In the past, event planners have often engaged the services of Destination Management Companies (DMCs) to effectively serve large groups with events in other cities or foreign destinations. Now, however, with more organizations opting to build flexibility into their programs and give attendees the option of extending their stay by paying for a tour desk and letting guest select and pay for the tours, activities and excursions that are of personal interest.
When engaging a DMC for this purpose, it's important to keep in mind that the Internet is a game changer, and that pricing and offerings are transparent. The days of simply adding mark-ups to pricing are long gone; with a few clicks of a mouse, clients and individual guests can determine supplier pricing and packages.
Here are 7 things to keep in mind when selecting and working with DMCs:
- With respect to transfers, select a DMC that has its own transportation fleet with a variety of options. Be sure that the price points for private and semi-private transfers are perceived as affordable.
When clients give guests the option of paying to arrive early or extend their stay, they will pay for group transfers. The guests typically pay a supplement for private or semi-private transfers. If the transfer price point ends up being higher than a taxi, the price-sensitive individual guest will not perceive the value and will opt for a more cost-effective option.
- Work with a DMC that has enough volume and clout to negotiate favorable pricing so that when mark-ups are added to popular programs, the final price does not exceed what the client would get by going directly to the supplier.
- The best DMCs focus on service bundles, rather than stand-alone activities, which will always be commoditized.
- Select a DMC that "gets it" and that can add value by creating customized options.
While guests will opt for the lowest price offering when an excursion or tour is identical to what is available online, they will pay a premium for customized offerings that are laser beam-focused on areas of interest.
- Instead of simply providing a selection excursions from a menu of offerings, choose DMCs that begin with guest preferences.
They'll ask specific questions to identify guest interests and design offerings based on areas of interest. In other words, push the guests' hot buttons rather than run of the mill tours and excursions.
- Work with DMCs that can provide access to unique and exclusive bespoke experiences that aren't available though a simple Internet search. Whether it's an experience with a celebrity or a behind the scenes tour of a Vegas show or a luxury department store, individual guests will pay a premium for an exclusive experience.
- Select a DMC that can add clearly articulate its value proposition to your clients and their guests.
This is perhaps the most important point. A service is only as good as the ability to sell it. To sell anything, the value must be crystal clear.
For more tips on working with DMCs, also check out 12 Ways for Event Planners to Communicate DMC Value, Event Planners & DMCs Need to Address Mutual Concerns, and 11 Tips for Teamwork with Destination Management Companies (DMCs).
Photo Credit: GotCredit