As a global corporate travel and event management company, Reed & Mackay has multiple office locations across the world. Plus, we’ve recently welcomed Spain’s Atlanta Events & Corporate Travel Consultants and Sweden’s travel and events agency Resia to the Reed & Mackay family. So, when planning international events for clients, we’re well positioned to both understand local nuances and where the find the best event venues, hotels and ground transportation in many destinations across the world.

Where we don’t have a local office, the Reed & Mackay Events team looks for additional support from a destination management company (DMC). How do we find the best to work with? Reed & Mackay General Manager Events UK Kirsty Tod highlights the key elements we look for from a DMC.

1) experience

We consider areas such as how long they’ve been working in the industry, the type of events they’ve organised, do they have good relationships with suppliers in their area? And are they accredited with a trusted organisation? Our first point of contact is our preferred DMC’s representation company who will have already vetted the DMC’s partners, how financially astute it is and what its response times are like. We also source feedback from other event agencies and view social media for examples of its work, to make sure the DMC we choose has the experience to support all our clients’ requirements.

2) local knowledge

We all want to keep our delegates and travellers safe wherever they are in the world. And a DMC will tell you how safe a destination is. What we might hear in the media here about a destination could only be referring to a tiny pocket. Ask your DMC’s teams about where they all live and work; their on-the-ground knowledge is crucial.

Local expertise is also helpful for weather insights, which venues are value for money, plus security knowledge. And DMCs will be able to share information such as where the best restaurants are for group dinners, where that special rooftop bar is for a cocktail reception, which ground transportation is the most reliable, and what creative team-building activities are available locally.

3) Shared values

We look to work with DMCs who share our values, who have the same vision as we do for our clients’ events. We want their approach to duty of care to be the same, offer the same service levels and response times to clients that we do.

We also want them to consider event sustainability. For example, we recently worked with a DMC in Canada. They recommended taking the train instead of flying between Toronto and Montreal. Not only was that a more sustainable way to travel, it was also cheaper, delegates could work on the train and it saved time as both cities’ train stations are in the centre, cutting out any time getting to, and queuing at, airports. Plus there was the incredible scenery en route that added value to the overall experience.

4) knowledge of where cost savings can be made

A DMC’s local knowledge and contacts can also help with negotiating costs with local suppliers. Furthermore, the suppliers they use are tried and tested. For example, if we wanted to book an opera singer for an event dinner, the DMC may have booked one before who is highly recommended and could perhaps negotiate a better rate if it’s providing repeat bookings.

5) ability to work in partnership

We deliver end-to-end event management and work with DMCs as our suppliers. We would also have a Reed & Mackay Events representative on site with the DMC, so every client has the entire event experience, including the reporting, with Reed & Mackay Events.