The next collaborative event between Event Planners Talk and Future in 15 will take place on 31 October 2018 at Allianz Park in London. The tongue-in-cheek event title for this Halloween day is ‘Is the DMC dead’; the event will offer a critical discussion regarding the fast-changing business environment and technological advancements that threaten the current business model of Destination Management Companies.
Event speakers are Martin Ellis, Managing Director at Team Umbrella Limited, Pauline Kwasniak, CEO at TurnedSee who will join remotely from Copenhagen, James Dowson, Managing Partner at The DMC Advantage and David Lovett-Hume, CEO at Asemblr.
An online poll has been launched on the digital platform Slido to crowdsource content and gather preliminary feedback on this topic from industry professionals. As per the time of writing, 32 responses generated 25% for yes, and 75% for no. Additional feedback in the comments section suggested that the DMCs are currently in a transition period, and that only good ones will strive and survive.
Local knowledge and wealth of expertise were noted as the main advantages of using a DMC, particularly when it comes to relationships, culture and language capability. If the organisers don’t have the knowledge of a destination, it’s crucial to work with a good and trusted DMC. Furthermore, contingency planning, insurance, liability and risk assessment were mentioned as reasons to explain why DMCs will thrive in this marketplace. It was added that reputable DMCs, especially with global plc ownership, will have crisis management and escalation processes as part of their standard operating procedures, an approach which can resolve unpredicted situations at large events.
Several comments suggested the evolving role of a DMC into an agency, and that the clients now contact the DMC without using an agency intermediary, noting that DMCs are now able to also fulfil the organisational part; for example, adding that some DMCs now include corporate accommodation commissions as part of their new strategies to grow, as well as opening PCOs and congress divisions to add long-term stability to the life cycle.
There is certainly a call for innovation to the traditional DMC business model: ‘DMCs still play a vital role of support and local knowledge in a destination. They do however need to be a little more proactive and creative to make sure they know what is new and trending in the area. When you find the right DMC, they are like gold dust and will be an extension of your team on the ground’, with someone else further commenting that ‘Traditional DMCs are fundamentally closed. They live in the past and refuse to innovate. They’re self-referential and self-focused and narcissism only leads to death!’
Commenting on the challenges that DMCs will face in the future that will take them out of business, digital and demographic advancements were mentioned as major contributors to this shift. These two factors will take the control out of DMCs’ hands. ‘DMCs have been a valuable source for clients who are not web and tech savvy. Because the average age of clients in the meetings industry is becoming younger, this new target audience is increasingly using the web for research.’ Another observer also added that ‘all activities, destinations, venues etc. can be accessed online, and you can easily get in contact with the owners, hosts and employees of the activity or place in question.’
Further comments suggested that DMCs don’t have a monopoly anymore because the ‘information process happens at many different on- and offline touch-points.’ Lastly, someone touched on the roles of a DMC and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) and Convention Bureaux (CVBs), that now the ‘DMOs and CVBs satisfy customer needs from information gathering to venue sourcing, making the supply chain more agile. DMOs are not dependent on commissions from hotels so clients trust them as they are objective. A DMO / CVB works free of charge for the client as well, which has changed the business model of many clients.’
Event organisers Irina Graf, founder of The MICE Blog, and Caleb Parker, Future in 15 Show host, look forward to facilitating this important discussion pre-, during and after the event: ‘We continue to partner with Irina because she always engages The MICE Blog audience with important topics to debate. The role of DMCs is another great example that I’m sure will begin an ongoing industry-wide discussion’ said Caleb Parker. Irina Graf added that ‘Upon announcing the event, we received important feedback and interest in this topic, applying that there is a shift happening. We want to have an open discussion and ask the hard questions. Only in this way we can ensure that our businesses are future proofed and will thrive in the competitive business environment.’
You can sign up to attend the event via this page.