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DMC Network Talks Meeting- and Incentive-Planning Trends

Challenges with event budgets, timelines, and staffing—plus air-travel complications—were among the issues discussed at Global DMC Partners’ annual meeting.

During its ninth annual Connection meeting held in late May at Atlantis The Palm Dubai, the destination management company network Global DMC Partners heard from several hundred of its members about the challenges they are facing with their meeting and incentive clients.

Number one on that list: budgets for both business-focused and performance-reward events are not aligned with inflationary pressure and costs, especially for air travel and guest rooms. This is leaving less money for the other program elements that DMCs often handle.

Other trends seen by DMC operators include:

• Shortened lead times for creating program elements taking place away from the host property

• The lack of negotiating ability for those off-property elements, which is causing planners stress as they try to balance event quality with budget constraints

• Some planners’ difficulty with technology integrations and functionality that enhance a meeting or incentive program

To work through these challenges, DMC operators say they are redoubling their efforts to build partnerships with a wide range of vendors in their destinations, especially as staffing difficulties are common among them, making fulfillment tricky. In addition, DMCs are helping their clients change up program agendas versus previous years, engage with attendees in new and different ways, and provide attendees with flexible travel options.

Lastly, DMCs see creative, unique ideas and exclusive access to memorable places as top drivers for planner clients as they build event agendas.

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