DMCs are an untapped resource for meeting profs

A Destination Management Company (DMC) could be the secret ingredient for meeting professionals cooking up their next event. These destination partners are dedicated event professionals who have expert local knowledge of their areas and can connect meeting producers with the resources they need to meet their strategic goals.

DMCs have grown exponentially over the years as meeting professionals are realizing the valuable local insight, integrated creativity and skill at troubleshooting DMCs offer. In this special section, Smart Meetings highlights DMC professionals at the top of their field to discuss the benefits of connecting early with a DMC, what they can offer and how they can help make your meeting a perfect blend of a meeting professional’s vision with an authentic destination-centric flare.

What DMCs Can Do for Meeting Profs

A DMC is truly a one-stop-shop. Their close partnerships with local vendors and venues will bring a client’s vision to fruition by outsourcing logistics and creative research to local experts.

woman smiling in front of green background
Amberlee Huggins

“A DMC specializes in the creation of an event, offering a wide range of event planning and execution services, ensuring seamless experiences for all clients,” says Heidi Brown, co-chief executive of Access DMC.

“We are an extension of your team,” says Amberlee Huggins, DCMP, and chief marketing officer of CSI DMC.

“We have local knowledge in the destination, which saves the most valuable resource of the modern planner: time,” says Kate Patay, Terramar Corporate vice president of global engagement. “You won’t spend countless hours researching local resources and trying to balance a plethora of vendors. DMCs make your life easy so you can concentrate on your agenda and your attendees—we handle the rest.”

woman smiling in front of pink background
Kate Patay

Enhanced efficiency could end up saving money in the end. Raquel Santo, marketing content manager at ETHOS Event Collective, explains the value proposition this way: “DMCs are adept at maximizing budgets to ensure optimal value because their success is directly tied to the success of your event.”

Read More: Top 3 DMC Trends as Tracked by an AI Proposal Platform

Why a Local DMC is Important

All destinations can look attractive to meeting professionals as they research online or hear from their colleagues about positive experiences, yet DMCs take it a step further as their teams are comprised of destination locals who work, play and live in the cities meeting professionals are planning an event in.

“A local DMC knows everything about the venues and they know all the cool places to go,” says Huggins, who works with local experts in key cities in the United States and around the world. “They know every square inch of those locations, they’re going to know which caterer, they know general transportation, who excels at what and what would be the best fit for what you’re trying to achieve.”

“We can start early on and keep everybody on track,” says Paget Kirkland, president and owner of Kirkland Event and Destination Services in the Palm Beaches. “We’re not scrambling at the last minute to manifest because we have our team in place to operate their program. We are there to stay one step ahead of everything.”

woman smiling in front of green background“Meeting professionals can pick a venue that’s fabulous for their event, but we have more buying power,” says Diane Lyons, DMCP, CMP, owner of ACCENT New Orleans. “We know them, they know us, they know if we say we’re booking something and we contract with them, they’re going to get their money and we’re going to be there for the long run.”

Case Study: CSI DMC in Orlando

“We did an elevated food and wine balloon festival in Orlando,” recalls Huggins. “That division was incorporating stunning, enormous hot air balloons and miniature counterparts peppered throughout the event. We really did this sort of nod to local vineyards, a Food and Wine Festival sort of feel. But the entire scene had this destination flavor. We brought in citrus elements, food and wine of the region and really bright colors.”

“We know them, they know us, they know if we say we’re booking something and we contract with them, they’re going to get their money and we’re going to be there for the long run.”

– Diane Lyons, CMP, DMCP, Owner, ACCENT New Orleans

Personal Relationships and Troubleshooting

The DMCs have personal relationships with the venues, vendors and everyone involved in the industry. This is a key element to how DMCs can help meeting professionals in a crisis.

woman wearing light and dark brown patterned shirt
Catherine Chaulet

“If something goes wrong, that is when you know working with a DMC was the best investment you could make,” says Catherine Chaulet, president and CEO of Global DMC Partners. “DMCs work to ensure a seamless program, from a bus breaking down, to an airline strike, to a pandemic—a DMC is your local partner to help navigate any challenge locally, get everyone in the right place and manage cancellation terms as needed.”

Case Study

“I had a corporate client that wanted a celebration event out in the swamps of South Louisiana,” says David Rome, DMCP, CMP, managing director of the south-central region for Access DMC. “As the date got closer, it rained every day. The ground was going to be soaked. Because our DMC is known for thinking out of the box and had knowledge of our local stores and inventory, we developed a shoe exchange at the event. We scoured the local stores and bought over 300 pairs of “water boots” (as we call them in New Orleans.)”


“We exchanged the guests’ shoes for water boots and everyone danced and enjoyed the evening in spite of the water soaked grounds,” says Rome. “Without the local knowledge and smarts, the client would not have known about having an event in a swamp and definitely wouldn’t have come up with a creative—and by the way award-winning—solution to an age-old problem of ‘raining on our events.’”

 A Team Approach

DMCs excel at filling the gaps between hotels, CVBs and staff planning teams. They bring a partnership approach where the goal is a win for everyone, including attendees.

DMCs vs. CVBs or hotels

“DMCs love showcasing the hotel, its unique beauty and enhancing it.,” says Elizabeth Giron, Terramar Corporate, director of business development.

“DMCs can enhance your program by allowing attendees to make a difference by supporting local causes and make a meaningful connections.”

– Catherine Chaulet, president and CE of Globally DMC Partners

Case Study

“We had a site we were on where two groups were back-to-back and the load out of one overlapped the opening event of the other,” says Patay. “We got creative and reworked the schedule so the opening of the second event was offsite, allowing the first group ample time to load out. By having open conversation and working as a team, we helped not only the hotel to accommodate both groups but both planners had their first-choice hotel.”

This article appears in the March/April 2024 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine here.