More than ever, meeting planners are under pressure to deliver forward-thinking content while keeping a close eye on the bottom line. DMOs can act as a resource throughout the planning process, but especially before any contracts have been signed.
1. Reach out to the destinations you’re considering in advance.
“The first thing you need to ask is, ‘What’s new, what’s happening?’” says Rachael Riggs of Tourism Vancouver. A DMO will be able to provide you with a road map of developments in their destination, including construction projects that could affect your meeting.
2. Educate yourself about the market conditions in the destinations you’re considering.
Knowing the landscape will help you negotiate the best rates.
3. Be transparent.
The more information a DMO has about your budget and goals, the better they can serve you. “When we build trust, we can deliver a solution for what you’re trying to do,” says Jason Lusk, CMP, of Visit Denver.
4. Keep up constant communication with your DMO.
Your partners need to know about any issues that crop up as soon as possible. Surprises “can ruin a relationship for a long time,” warns James Rooney of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
5. Meet with multiple DMOs
If you’re going to be in a tough spot in the future — and everyone will be — “you’ll need to have those relationships,” advises Germaine Schaefer of the National Association of Counties.