What Travel Agents Should Keep in Mind When Choosing a DMC Partner
In a world of consumer impatience and hyper-connectivity, probably a major concern remains whether or not the supplier-DMC-tour operator-retail agent-customer chain holds any relevance. Despite the fact that the evolution of the travel industry has seen many layers and booms, a certain balance is still maintained which invariably includes a large amount of manual effort and communication.
A DMC (Destination Management Company) provides extensive local destination knowledge and work as the extension of your travel agency. Going by their job responsibilities, any DMC is responsible for offering logistic services in their destination ranging from meet and greet options, transfers, hotel accommodation, themed events, conference venues, multiple dining options etc. They need to be trusted at both creative and professional levels.
At the end of the day, nobody but the DMCs can provide the best preferential rates for travel-trade services. A professional DMC will update itself on the latest education, standards, and practices within the DMC industry. Maintaining and bringing excellence and ethical business practices is what is essential to survive in this competitive tourism segment. Apart from the intangible qualifications, the following quotients are necessary to choose before ranking someone as a reliable DMC.
It is essential that your DMC should be efficient in dealing with itinerary creation which serves as the key component of staying organized and making it attractive to the first-time tourists. Screen your DMC whether they have sold similar tours and activities you are looking for. Also, focus on the marketing and service strengths to know how to strategize the tour plans. It would not be any way wise to partner with a DMC who is not sure of the demand from their customer base. For a DMC, industry knowledge is imperative for planning events, travel, and meetings.
Overseas business needs to be done with much care and caution. Sometimes the condescending attitude of the international clientele can be cleared through discussions like whether they have any history of working with similar tour operators or what are their financial resources and credit worthiness.
Strong, long-standing partnerships with clients and retail travel agents will make the vacation experience smoother for the tourists. This is all the more essential for the overseas partners to ensure end-to-end, high-quality travel service.
One of the primary responsibilities for a destination management company is to execute the tourism plans and for this they need to be well connected to meet the expectations of your clients and get you repeat business. It’s therefore important to know how many and what types of local service providers they are connected to, whether it’s hotels, ground transportation companies, activity providers or even government bodies.
A destination management company is expected to handle the entire aspect of the social calendar of the client. To get the most out of your DMC, make sure to check what that particular DMC specializes in the expected range of services.
Check whether they are destination marketer
Local knowledge and expertise are the major selling points of any DMC. However, what makes one DMC better than the other is how they deploy their local expertise on tourism strategies. A good DMC should be able to create demand for their destination which would be wrapped in innovative activities.
When and how to use a DMC?
DMCs are particularly useful in case of MICE trips. While organizing such trips to an unfamiliar location, especially in an overseas destination, a DMC is what you cannot but take help from. They are the best to organize the conferences, conventions, exhibitions, meetings etc. with sources of credible local suppliers and negotiable budgets.
Imagine you and your team trying to manage an unexpected error in organizing an entirely strange location with currency, language, custom barriers. To avoid this nightmarish condition, trust a DMC. Taking care of event management, promotional staff, security, etc. is much more cost effective in terms of transportation and accommodation by a DMC than for a foreign travel agent.
Familiarization tours (FAMs for short) are a great scope to get to know the tour operators, DMOs, and travel agents. Specializing in designing and implementing corporate programs, DMCs travel services range from leisure to business applications as well as online to personal.
Strategic marketing of a state at any foreign country can no way be developed to the master skill standard as that of a DMC. Working with industry and government contacts, DMCs can offer small and medium-sized businesses in toolkits. The final cost of the travel package along with the value-added components still would be lesser if compared to that of the travel agent’s budget.
Community Destination Marketing Organizations
Travel services for CDMOs generally offer services such as specific destination packages, hotel search engines, events and festival listings and other information with potential visitors’ interests. Sometimes, these similar services are offered by local chamber of commerce or economic development office in absence of a CDMO.
A plethora of customized and targeted reservation systems are used by the CDMOs to work smoothly at strategic locations and events. Sector-specific associations, hospitality human resources organizations, economic development and city planning offices and travel consultants helps to carry out the activities in a business-to-business format. Business travel managers of DMCs are aware of the strained and budgeted trips and all the packages are done keeping in mind the price sensitivity.
Some Smart Tips
- Try and maintain relationships with least three potential DMCs so that you can compare the quotes for any particular service and get the best price for the service
- Get the full breakdown of commissions, hidden price and fees, this is because some DMCs apply an event management fee which might change depending on the custom charges
- Be advised of local best practices like tipping or other common shares followed by the folks
- Establish reporting lines and get the detailed report of the contingency options for all travel delays
Before contracting with a DMC, check the following points:
- Demographic information including its registered name and address
- Legal structure of the company
- Business start date
- Whether they have membership in respective tourism offices
- Business licenses as required by law
- The real Certificate of Insurance
- If possible, try and get some references
It won’t be wrong to say that an overseas travel agent’s guardian angel is a Destination Management Company. The Destination Manager must be cognizant of the quality of service providers and be aware of the contract dealings.
Travel professionals, directly or indirectly hold one singular motto – to provide the best possible experience to the traveler. Not to promote your own agency, not to defend the job title, not to impede the valuable time – but travel agents and DMCs should work hand on hand and invest time and effort in customer satisfaction, innovation and optimum productivity.