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At the IMEX America release of the Destination Booking Agreement Guiding Principles: (from left) Emily Scheiderer, Destinations International; Melissa Riley, Destination DC; Junior Tauvaa, Visit Anaheim, and Dustin Arnheim, Choose Chicago

Guidelines for Citywide Bookings Released

Destinations International has published a best-practices document that it hopes will better protect destinations when citywide events cancel or change, and vice versa.

The years-long effort by Destinations International to bring more accountability and consistency to the agreements between convention bureaus and their largest event clients has reached a milestone. The association has published a document called Destination Booking Agreement Guiding Principles.

The DBA best-practices document includes a checklist of items that should be covered in writing between the destination and the event, including cancellation clauses and terms, a timeline for signing a convention center contract, a deposit schedule, hotel rebates, hotel commissions, transfer of ownership of an event, and other elements. In many cases, these issues are not formally addressed as part of a citywide booking agreement.

At a press conference during the IMEX America show on October 12, Melissa Riley, chair of the Destination International’s Large Market Roundtable and vice president, convention sales and services at Destination DC, discussed the importance of the DBA Guiding Principles. “This is really something we have needed to help legitimize the value of the business events industry. There's a responsibility to the global communities, individual destinations, and the massive numbers of individuals who we employ in our workforce to make sure that the exchange of goods and services really is legitimate. The DBA is about mutual responsibility and shared risk,” she said.

“This isn’t a Covid issue. This is something that started long before the pandemic,” continued Riley. “The landscape is changing very rapidly on a very frequent basis, and we really need to look at ways that we can continue to build the shared accountability going forward. It’s really about collaboration over cancellation.”

Destination International’s Destinations Booking Agreement Toolkit includes the DBA Guiding Principles, six case studies, and an overview document that explains the basics of a DBA—what it is and why it’s needed.

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