Interview with Ulrica Hackl, Senior Project Manager Vienna Office, AIM Group International
Q: Are clients savvy and understand what DMCs are?
Yes, the majority of our clients do understand what a DMC is and what we are doing and knows why to choose a reliable DMC to work with. To take advantage of the services and knowledge that only a DMC can provide in their area. Our clients are working worldwide – but they need local knowledge in each destination. It is not possible for the client to know all about good Hotels, new Restaurants, locations, etc., over the whole world. Investing on a DMC is not a waste of money but an insurance against a lot of incidents that might happen so it can mitigate risks of failure. Clients can highly enjoy having one single person of contact, namely the project leader of the DMC Company, for any services, last minute requirements, special inquiries of the final client involved in a meeting, incentive trip etc. The local knowledge and contacts of a local DMC are priceless. A DMC can not only enhance your corporate image, but save you time, stress and money, and raise the ROI of your event.
Q: Are DMCs competitors of event and marketing agencies? – are event and marketing agencies entering in the DMC market? Or on the contrary, DMC perceive them as competitors?
Yes, actually more and more and sometimes there is a gray zone where our services are overlapping each other, like entertainment, themed event, team activities. But DMC agencies and Event agencies are often business partners! But the trend is that also event and marketing agencies aim to work like full-service agencies.
Local Knowledge is the magic word!
Q: Do DMCs provide better local access and pricing? How? Could you explain it with some example?
Definitely YES! An experienced DMC can and must offer overall better pricing.
Local Knowledge is the magic word! And a DMC is (must be) better connected in the region than their clients! A DMC is a professional services company with deep local knowledge, expertise and contact to several local suppliers that enable clients to make a direct experience of the true local culture.
Involving delegates through unique experiences they can make only in this region will make events really memorable. And delegates must be the protagonist of the activities, not only viewers. In Italy you can teach them how to prepare homemade pasta with grandmothers, then cook it following the very local recipe and eat together for a typical Italian lunch; in Portugal they can participate to a handicraft workshop and paint their azulejo that they take home as gadget, or again, you can involve them in South France doing the harvest grape.
Thanks to a DMC you can have a local physical office, with a staff who know the daily life of the destination that you are interested in. DMCs have a direct experience of venues and attractions, are realistic about travel times and traffic patterns and will explain nuances that only local experts can share! Furthermore, you have to consider the value of your time: what would it cost you to execute internally all the project? Hiring a DMC allows you to focus on your stakeholders and brand, without being distracted by logistics and management.
Q: What do you think about the rise in budget transparency? Is it a real novity or a consolidated custom for you agency? What does be transparent mean?
This depends on the client (and the end client) and this need to be decided right from the beginning of an event. This need to be very clear from the very first step. A budget that is not transparent (accessible and accurate) cannot be properly analysed by the client/end client. This is very important if the end client wants/needs to see the invoices (from our suppliers) for example. You can say that transparency is the new “currency of trust” in our business.
Q: Do you prefer to apply a overall management fee or specific commissions for each service?
We have different types of clients and different type of ways to provide our services. Whit an overall management fee, commission or with mark up. We are flexible but we need to share the preferred solution with the client right from the start.
Q: Do you charge a fee for site inspections?
This depends on the total revenue of the event and the dimension of the event. Usually, we do not charge for the site inspection if the event will be confirmed with us, also because we always try to get services free of charge from our suppliers for a site inspection if the suppliers also will be a part of the event later on, after the confirmation. One option is also to charge the site inspection (if the DMC still is to be selected – this can also happen). The site inspection costs will, in this case, be deducted on the final bill.