by Lisa A. Grimaldi | August 28, 2017
The DMC Network Exchange, held Aug. 23-26 in Indianapolis, brought together members of the consortium of independently owned, ADMEI-accredited destination management firms and planners for three days of high-energy networking and education. The event at the JW Marriott Indianapolis showcased the sports-centric city's group offerings and the creativity of the host DMC, Accent Indy.  
 
The meeting revved up with a night at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the Indy 500; other activities included an afternoon of games at the stunning Lucas Oil Field, a bike ride through White River State Park and a tasting tour of three local breweries. Off-site dining at the legendary St. Elmo's Steak House, trendy eatery Charblue and the Eiteljorg Museum, renowned for its Native American and Western art collections, gave participants a taste of Midwest cuisine.
 
At the educational sessions, attendees dove deep into each DMC Network member's offerings via a clever "catwalk" that introduced staff and displayed top news from their respective destinations. Sessions included an update on the state of the industry by Michael Dominguez, senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International; this was followed by a panel of industry leaders -- Dominguez, SITE CEO Kevin Hinton, Visit Indy president and CEO Leonard Hoops and Teneo Hospitality Group CEO Darrell Tamosuinas -- who shared insights on topics like the importance of DMOs and DMCs working together and with their cities' leaders. Another presenter, Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence, gave the audience insider tips to get a true gauge of the economy (e.g., looking at the nation's "quit rate" vs. traditional Department of Labor statistics).
 
The three-day conference ended on a purple note, with a 1980s-themed dinner that began with a performance by a Prince impersonator and closed with a faux Michael Jackson (who in real-life originally hailed from Indiana) and a powerhouse local choir.