by Morton D. Rosenbaum | January 01, 2006

The following checklistwas
compiled with the assistance of Madelyn Marusa, DMCP, vice president of industry relations, PRA Destination Management (
www.pra.com), and Wendy W. Scott, CAE, executive director, DMC Network (www.dmcnet
work.com).

Determining Needs

  • Consider specific destination management company services such as site selection, airport transportation, special events, team building, themes, décor, entertainment and/or customized excursions.
  • Draw up a group demographic profile; include details about previous programs such as venues used, size, average age of attendees and average expenditure.
  • Draft an agenda for the timing and duration of activities.
  • What staffing requirements will be needed?
  • What is the program budget?
  • What is the time frame for the program?
  • Finding Vendors

  • Once the destination has been selected, research DMCs on the Internet (convention and visitor bureau websites often list them), or seek referrals directly from hotels or bureaus.
  • Refer to member directories of industry associations, such as the Dayton, Ohio-based Association of Destination Management Executives (www.adme.org), for DMC listings.
  • Evaluate the DMC’s longevity and reputation.
  • Does the company have an established full-time office with an owner on site?
  • Do DMC services make up at least 75 percent of the supplier’s business?
  • Do local hotels and suppliers recommend the DMC?
  • Investigate the DMC’s resources, risk management and liability policies, and insurance coverage. The DMC Network recommends looking for a DMC with no less than $1 million in liability insurance.
  • Does the DMC’s representative exhibit professionalism and expertise in terms of the destination and program elements?
  • How many staff members are required to have industry certifications such as DMCP?
  • What are the DMC’s policies on pricing and billing?
  • Is the DMC a preferred supplier for any large meeting or incentive firm?
  • Evaluating Proposals

  • Are the DMC staff fairly easy to reach? Do they respond quickly?
  • Has the DMC offered a detailed program that makes use of your budget in a creative way?
  • Do program outlines and suggestions target the needs and interests of your group?
  • From planning to execution, can the DMC handle last-minute changes and keep the program running smoothly?
  • If working with a high-profile function or group, ensure that confidentiality will be a high priority. Ask if the DMC has experience handling events that require top-level security.
  • Verify that the DMC has no conflict of interest with any of its other clients.
  • Finalizing the Contract

  • Review the contract in detail. If possible, submit the draft to a legal expert.
  • Discuss any unclear items with the DMC. Negotiate any problematic items.
  • Pay particular attention to cancellation clauses. Is the deposit refundable?
  • Include an outline of the program summary, complete with desired services, timelines and pricing.
  • Clarify the method and deadline of payment.
  • After the Event

  • Review the event with the DMC to identify positive results and room for improvement. This will be helpful in future collaborations.