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 (, and Wendy W. Scott, CAE, executive director, DMC Network (www.dmcnet

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 (, 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.