Easy Business Travel with Destination Management Firms

Drawing of a businessman holding a briefcase, a composition by Tedel.

The Internet eased business communications a lot with its e-mail, instant messaging and videoconference calls; but some business cannot be done through a screen. When companies discusss large sales or purchases, when draft contracts mention letters of intent, proof of funds, trade insurance and a five-, six- or even seven-figure amount per transaction, you still need to see to believe.

In the old days, a company would send a business representative with a briefcase full of documents. These days, business travel mainly uses a laptop, or even a tablet, but with the same professionalism. Both seller and buyer want to start the in-person part of the negotiation with the right foot forward, secure the best possible deal and continue doing business in the future. Both parties want to give a great impression too, especially if they are meeting for the first time. When negotiations reach this point, both usually agree that an international business meeting is best to close the deal.

In tourism, international meeting travel is part of a specialty known as MICE (which stands for “meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions” —although some authors state that the ‘E’ stands for “events” as well). It is a much smaller market compared to what traditional travel agencies sell, but its profit margin tends to be higher. Companies that specialize in this kind of business trips are destination management companies (or just DMCs), and if you want to see an example, you may take a look at Connect DMC, a well-known DMC that serves Mexico and Dominican Republic.

The main difference between a destination management company and a travel agency

The main differences between a DMC and a classic travel agency is the level of service. While a classic travel agency may offer airport pick-up, transportation to the airport, accommodations arrangements and tours, they are often canned offers by tour operators.

Business travel has a more serious end, so travel agencies are not the best options for them. Destination management companies step in to take care to those same necessities but in a more luxurious, business-like manner. I mean, among others, the following:

  • Fast-track arrangements at the airport
  • Luxury transportation (sometimes with a limousine or even a helicopter)
  • Luxury accommodations (resorts of five-star hotels)
  • Bespoke tours (so both parties can have fun while they talk business now and then too)
  • A private setting for the most formal business meetings (a business room in a five-star hotel or a Michelin restaurant), including taking care of all the necessary reservations and transportation, of course
  • Business-class entertainment

…and the like. Destination management companies have been, for decades, the secret sauce for successful negotiations between companies, and they continue being so today.

How DMCs ease business meetings

Companies hire destination management firms for business meetings mainly because they save them both time and money. DMCs already count on a large network of local contacts to make these international meetings happen without unpleasant susprises; and they have emergency plans too, “just in case”. In other words, instead of spending many hours of someone’s time in your company looking for a good flight, a nice hotel, arranging a tour, a formal business dinner, etc.; you hire a DMC to take care of everything.

Destination management firms offer an advantage from the financial side too. They usually create one invoice for all their services, making it easier for your accounting department to deduct all the expense from taxes.

What to look for in a destination management company

Now that the concept and advantages of destination management companies are clearer, let us take a look at what to look for in a potential DMC provider. This is important because, after all, a bad choice could jeopardize the results of your business meeting (and all the money that involves).

First, look for experience. Reliable destination management companies have years of experience, and often decades in business.

Next, look for certifications. If the DMC you are planning to hire has certified meeting planners (CMPs), specialists in sustainable events, Certified Incentives Specialists (CIS) or Certified Incentive Travel Professionals (CITP), it is quite likely a trustworthy provider. Common certifiers include Meeting Planners International (MPI), the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) and the Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI). Accredited DMCs (ADMC) are even better. These organizations have its associates respect the organization’s code of ethics to keep a good standard in all the MICE industry.

Finally, look for reviews. Good DMCs are never famous. They work under the radar. Bad ones are easy to spot through online reviews. A quick search online should let you know if you are deciding for a good supplier or not.

Back to you

If time comes for your company to take the big step and enter an international negotiation, do not risk it trying to make all the arrangements by yourself. Hire a destination management company, so they can use its expertise to make your business meeting unforgettable. That will be the best way to secure the deal.

Spread the love
By PostingEra