by Art Pfenning | May 01, 2004

Local independent: 40%
Chain: 9%
No preference: 51%

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With more destination management companies now offering a range of meeting planning services, M&C polled planners for their opinions about the third-party service providers. Answers from 382 respondents showed nearly a third (30 percent) never use DMCs. The majority (55 percent) use them only sometimes. 
    chartWhen asked about DMCs that are branching into meeting planning, about half of those polled who use the services (49 percent) say they welcome the companies’ involvement in the planning process. Still, 22 percent think the move hurts the relationship between planners and DMCs, and another 19 percent feel it threatens their jobs. Seventeen percent of respondents say they won’t do business with DMCs who also plan meetings and incentives.
    Those who use DMCs hire them to arrange transportation (72 percent), custom tours (70 percent), spouse/guest activities (59 percent), off-site dining (53 percent) and theme parties (52 percent). Most planners don’t like to be presented with a package deal of DMC services, as 42 percent say they always ask the companies to unbundle their offerings and 51 percent say they sometimes do.
    chartWhere do planners find good DMCs? They ask colleagues (65 percent); go through convention and visitor bureaus (61 percent); get recommendations from the hotel they’re using (60 percent); and search through member organizations such as Meeting Professionals International, the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives, and the Association of Destination Management Executives (49 percent).chart