Why Use a Destination Management Company?

By Beth Buehler

Every industry has its own version of alphabet soup (a.k.a. acronyms). Remember how you wanted Campbell’s Alphabet Soup when you were a kid because it was fun to spell out words in your soup and somehow it was comforting? The same feeling of calm comes from mastering acronyms in your chosen profession!

In the meetings and events industry—in tandem with hearing all the acronyms of the various industry associations like NACE, ILEA, MPI, PCMA and HSMAI—you’ll certainly hear DMC, the shortened version of “destination management company.” It’s important for both planners and suppliers to understand the function and importance of DMCs.

DMCs take care of all the details so the evening of the event is simply stunning. Courtesy RMC.

What is a destination management company?

The definition of a DMC, according to the Association of Destination Management Executives International, is “a professional services company located in its destination and specializing in local expertise and resources. The DMC is a strategic partner to provide creative local experiences in event management, tours/activities, transportation, entertainment, and program logistics.”

Skydivers landing at an event at Empower Field at Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos, takes serious attention to detail. Courtesy E5 Events.

The association has a certification program for individuals, so if you see DCMP (Destination Management Certified Professional) behind someone’s name, they have gone through training and successfully demonstrated their knowledge of best practices in destination management. The Accredited Destination Management Company (ADMC) certification is newer and designed to elevate professional standards and identify firms that demonstrate advanced knowledge and experience essential to the practice of destination management.

What is a DMC versus a DMO

Before we continue on with this conversation, is important to note that DMCs are not DMOs, even though it is easy to confuse the two due to the acronyms and functions of both. DMOs are “destination marketing organizations,” which are organizations charged with representing a specific destination and helping the long-term development of communities through a travel and tourism strategy. In Colorado, DMOs typically are convention and visitor bureaus, tourism groups or chamber resort associations that work on behalf of a specific community, county or region.

In some towns, especially cities and resort towns, DMOs are active in recruiting group business. That’s where it gets confusing, but their functions don’t overlap with DMCs. DMOs won’t plan your meeting or event but instead help connect you to resources and provide valuable services like on-site visits, destination photography and brochures, and much more. I’m of the opinion that meeting and event planners should plug into both for their group to get the most out of a destination.

Examples of DMCs and why to use them

That said, let’s get back to destination management companies. Several top-notch DMCs are members of Destination Colorado. Their participation demonstrates that they are actively teaming up with destinations, venues and suppliers around the state to give meeting and event planners and groups the best and easiest experiences when gathering in Colorado.

A beautiful setting coordinated by Operation Altitude at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Courtesy Operation Altitude.

Denver-based Imprint Group, one of two Colorado DMCs with ADMC accreditation, has a simple, straightforward explanation of a DMC on its website, “let us be the team who crafts a unique experience for your guests through creative planning and flawless execution.” A list of services offered includes meeting management, site selection, hotel coordination, transportation, custom tours and activities, design and décor, dine-arounds, entertainment, and giveaways and promotional items.

Imprint Group dialed in the right type of entertainment for this group! Courtesy Imprint Group.

Three of the nine Coloradoans who have achieved DMCP certification own or work for three of the eight Destination Colorado DMC members: Realize Colorado, RMC or Allied PRA. Deana Mitchell, owner/operator of Realize Colorado, serves on the Destination Colorado board of directors and notes on her website, “From site selection and contract negotiation, to planning and assisting with on-site logistics, we can take your vision to reality!” Examples of services include transportation, team-building activities, event décor and production, trade shows, recreation and fun, and local food and drink.

As mentioned, DMCs are specialists in the destinations they serve and are like matchmakers, connecting planners and their groups with the hotels, venues, suppliers, transportation providers, speakers, entertainers, photographers and more that are the best fit in terms of goals and objectives, group type, budget and more. They also localize the experience so it’s not just a carbon copy of the meeting you held in Dallas, Atlanta or Jackson Hole.

DMCs can help make an outdoor dinner in the mountains look effortless and develop a backup plan just in case! Courtesy Allied PRA.

This is very a brief explanation of DMCs and why they are valuable partners to consider for your next meeting or event. The bottom line is, instead of tossing and turning for weeks, you might even be able to enjoy the next gathering you’ve been assigned!

Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.