Special Events
8th Annual Special Events' 25 Top DMCs List

8th Annual Special Events' 25 Top DMCs List

It's our annual look at the world of the ultimate insiders—destination management companies.

They greet you at the airport, shuttle you through city traffic, then send you home after the final-night gala. Who can do all of this?

Destination management companies--that's who--and thanks to sophisticated networks, they mix global access with local expertise.

For profiles of the biggest in the business, read on—and don't miss our list of big DMC networks at the bottom of this article.

25 TOP DMCs

ACCESS DESTINATION SERVICES
San Diego
TOP OFFICER Christopher H. Lee, DMCP
WEBSITE www.accessdmc.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 400 plus
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $14 million to $16 million
CAPABILITIES Services range from event concept and design to program management and on-site coordination, entertainment services, transportation logistics, event production, recreational activities, CSR events, team-building, budgeting and consolidated billing.
TRENDS TO WATCH "Less stage and set design," they say, replaced by "more interior design using all the senses (i.e., lighting, furniture)."
ALLIED WITH ACCESS Destination Services group

BASKOW & ASSOCIATES
Las Vegas
TOP OFFICER Jaki Baskow
WEBSITE www.baskow.com, www.baskowtalent.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 830 plus
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $10 million to $12 million
CAPABILITIES This veteran DMC is celebrating 36 years in Las Vegas, offering full destination services, event and meeting management, entertainment, decor and transportation, plus registration and a speakers bureau.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Baskow produced more than 800 events last year, including handling one for 9,000 guests with a concert by Keith Urban.
TRENDS TO WATCH Clients range from cost-cutters to big spenders, but they all come in at the last minute.
ALLIED WITH Global Events Partners

BIXEL & CO.
Los Angeles
TOP OFFICER Dabney Bixel
WEBSITE www.bixelco.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 185 to 210
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $8 million to $8.5 million
CAPABILITIES In business for 23 years, with a reputation for creativity, management and logistics skills, and customer service.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The year 2011 "was one of the best," management says, with high-end events tied to the NBA All-Star game, Golden Globes and golf tourneys.
TRENDS TO WATCH "The industry appears to be rebounding but with a very short confirmation time," they say. "As validation, we are experiencing a surge of new business from Canada, Australia and China."
ALLIED WITH Global Events Partners

BRIGGS INC.
New York
TOP OFFICER Anthony Napoli
WEBSITE www.briggsnyc.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 100 to 250
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $8 milliion to $11.5 million
CAPABILITIES Company management notes Briggs is the "preferred DMC for all of the major U.S. incentive companies." Provides meeting, product launch and event services for Fortune 500 clients.
ALLIED WITH DMC Network

CHICAGO TRAVEL CONSULTANTS
Chicago
TOP OFFICERS Scott Baker, DMCP, owner/CEO; Chris Baker, DMCP, owner/sales and marketing
WEBSITE www.ctcdmc.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 175 to 225
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $6 million to $7 million
CAPABILITIES This full-service DMC was founded "to provide superior levels of service at competitive prices, while offering unmatched professionalism, flexibility, creativity and attention to detail," management says.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS A big year for awards, including hardware from NACE/ISES Chicago, ADMEI and HSMAI.
TRENDS TO WATCH "The market is finally returned to pre-recession levels," management says. But "short-term confirmation windows remain in place."
ALLIED WITH DMC Network

COMPASS TOURS INCOMING/TOP TOURS TRAVEL
Munich, Germany
TOP OFFICER Michael Kater
WEBSITE www.kater-dmc.de
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 300 to 400
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $9.8 million to $15.5 million
CAPABILITIES Operates six offices in Germany: Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Hanover. Service roster includes creative program design, site inspection, program logistics, supplier management, event production, transportation and CSR activities.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Compass pulled off 2,000 different itineraries for 2,000 Brazilian incentive travelers within one week by hiring every Portuguese-speaking guide in Germany.
TRENDS TO WATCH Numbers are up, "especially from the USA," management says, though pharmaceutical clients are "cutting costs again."
ALLIED WITH Euromic

CONVENTION PLANNING SERVICES
Orlando, Fla.
TOP OFFICER John Tate
WEBSITE www.cpsflorida.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 300 to 350
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $14 million to $16 million
CAPABILITIES CPS specializes in "creative, complex special event planning and transportation logistics and execution," management says.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The team is proud of an "elegant tailgate" party at Rosen Shingle Creek featuring food trucks, light strings and upscale picnic tables under the starts for 1,400 guests.
ALLIED WITH DMC Network

CSI CAPITOL SERVICES INC.
Falls Church, Va.
TOP OFFICERS David Hainline, CEO; Amber Huggins, president
WEBSITE www.csi-dc.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 260
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $12.7 million
CAPABILITIES Covering Washington and Baltimore, CSI has consulted on high-profile jobs including presidential inaugurations, government meetings and international events. Capabilities include events, meeting management, transportation tours, entertainment and other convention services needs.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Recent programs have served big-time clients including the American Bar Association, Campbell's and CITGO.
TRENDS TO WATCH The good news: Clients are asking for a "broader spectrum" of services. The bad news: Shorter turnarounds are "the norm."
ALLIED WITH DMC Network

DALLAS FAN FARES
Dallas
TOP OFFICER Kaye Burkhardt
WEBSITE www.fanfares.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 90 to 110
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $9 million to $12 million
CAPABILITIES Company provides DMC services in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, along with managing corporate hospitality at major sports events, ground transportation, team-building programs and theme parties.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Work this year has involved DMC services for Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, Big 12 championships and the Masters, along with corporate events.
TRENDS TO WATCH New attractions in the Dallas-Fort Worth market--such as a new convention center hotel and Texas Rangers baseball--are hits with clients.

DESTINATION CHINA
Beijing
TOP OFFICER Brian Yin Hong Bo
WEBSITE www.destinationchina.biz
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 75 to 100
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $7.5 million to $10 million
CAPABILITIES Company provides incentive programs, custom tours, events, team-building, and meeting and conference management.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Dinners on the Great Wall remain a huge hit with clients, as was a DHL key-customer event for 350 that included a dinner in the Confucian Temple in Shanghai.
TRENDS TO WATCH This year has seen more interest in cities--such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chengdu--"other than the Big 3--Beijing, Shanghai & Xian," management says, thanks to new air routes and improved airport facilities.
ALLIED WITH Euromic

DESTINATION CONCEPTS INC.
San Diego
TOP OFFICERS Brynne Frost, Ana Reilly
WEBSITE www.destinationconcepts.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 250 (comprising more than 1,500 events)
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $15 million
CAPABILITIES Providing services to corporate, incentive, association markets; "We take pride in our excellent client feedback," management says.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The highlight of the past year: "The largest conference to ever hit Los Angeles--14,000 attendees with 75 simultaneous events in a single night!" The team also produced an event during a power outage; "With our flexibility and area expertise, we sourced power to have the evening executed to perfection."
TRENDS TO WATCH A "significant" rebound in the economy is being hamstrung by tight turnarounds--"All of which reinforce the need for DMCs to be flexible, creative and scalable."
ALLIED WITH Global Events Partners

DESTINATION NASHVILLE
Nashville, Tenn.
TOP OFFICER Rhonda Marko, CMP, CMM, DMCP
WEBSITE www.destinationnashville.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 250 to 300
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $7.5 million to $7.9 million
CAPABILITIES "Music City" experts and the preferred DMC vendor for giant Gaylord Opryland Resort, this DMC operates two offices in Nashville offering "total" destination management services.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlights of the year include providing destination management services for the Gaylord Opryland grand re-opening.
ALLIED WITH Global Events Partners

DESTINATION SAN ANTONIO/THE CE GROUP
San Antonio
TOP OFFICER Janet Holliday
WEBSITE www.destination-sanantonio.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 100 to 150
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $7 million
CAPABILITIES Capabilities include unique off-site theme dinners, specialty tours, team-building activities and transportation services as well as event and production management.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS The client roster for the past year has included Baptist Health Systems, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Medtronic, Wells Fargo and Royal Bank of Scotland.
ALLIED WITH DMC Network

GEP WASHINGTON
Washington
TOP OFFICER Marty MacKay
WEBSITE www.gepdmc.com/washington
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 250 to 300
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $8 million to $8.5 million
CAPABILITIES Operating in the metro Washington area, providing airport meet-and-greet services, shuttle systems, group tours, spouse programs, entertainment, off-site dinners, in-hotel themed dinners, team-building programs and "complete" VIP services.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlights of the year have included the MLK national memorial dedication and a big program for Allstate Insurance including transportation and off-site events at the National Air and Space Museum for 1,800.
TRENDS TO WATCH Food trucks are revving up events as catering goes more casual.
ALLIED WITH Global Events Partners

HELLO USA!
Orlando, Fla.
TOP OFFICER Paul Mears III
WEBSITE www.hello-usa.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 5,000 to 7,000
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $60 million plus
CAPABILITIES With a dedicated, full-time staff of 10 focusing solely on creating, sourcing and producing theme events--and a huge photo/video library documenting it all--"Our clients are able to select theme elements with a high degree of confidence," management says.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Guests at The Special Event in Tampa, Fla., in January were wowed by the Gala Celebration "cocktails in the park" party and spectacular two-story dinner tent, masterminded by v.p. of creative services Mark Wells.

IVI DESTINATION MANAGEMENT
Cancun, Mexico
TOP OFFICER Jose-Manuel Garcia
WEBSITE www.ividmc.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 200 plus
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $7 million plus
CAPABILITIES In business since 1986, the company offers full destination services for MICE businesses including incentive travel, corporate events and meetings, and family groups.
ALLIED WITH AlliedPRA

KUONI DESTINATION MANAGEMENT
Zurich, Switzerland; New York
TOP OFFICER Rolf Schafroth
WEBSITE www.kuoni-dmc.com, www.kuoni-dmusa.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 4,000 plus
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $956 million
CAPABILITIES The only wholly-owned global DMC, this giant owns its nearly 100 DMC locations outright, providing a high level of quality control for clients.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS With partner EventWorks, Kuoni USA won a Gala Award in January for its seductive spin on an Alice in Wonderland themed event.

ME PRODUCTIONS
Miami
TOP OFFICERS Hal Etkin, CEO; Jim Etkin, president
WEBSITE www.meproductions.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 380
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $10.2 million
CAPABILITIES ME works out of a 35,000-square-foot facility that provides in-house graphics, award-winning floral, entertainment, theme decor and stage sets. Specialties include conference design, team-building programs and theme parties, serving both local and international clientele.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS This year’s roster has included DMC services for marquee clients including Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, NFL Players Association and Siemens.
TRENDS TO WATCH High turnover at client companies has led to inexperienced planners, some with unrealistic price expectations, management complains.

METROCONNECTIONS
Minneapolis
TOP OFFICERS Sam Thompson, CEO; David Graves, president
WEBSITE www.metroconnections.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 1,400
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $12 million
CAPABILITIES Four service centers--conference services, event services, production services and transportation services--are combined in one strategic group. The company owns a 35,000-square-foot facility including a prop and set warehouse.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Metro has brought home awards for its Syngenta Capital Markets and Demonstration Days event series.
TRENDS TO WATCH Despite shorter event programs, "the quality of content is improving and organizations are finding ways to streamline," management says. "Technology is rapidly improving and creating more efficiencies on a variety of levels for the event/meting management.

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTIONS
Dallas
TOP OFFICERS Jeff Davis, Robert Hayden, Patty Phelps
WEBSITE www.outstandingproductions.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 700 plus
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $8 million
CAPABILITIES The move into larger offices and a 60,000-square-foot warehouse means expanded graphics and carpentry capabilities.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Jam-packed year has included two roll-outs for J.C. Penney with less than two weeks' notice, along with transportation for Aaron's Furniture during floods and storms; "Staff worked up to 18 hours a day to get everyone."
TRENDS TO WATCH To cope with confirmations coming in within 14 days "or less," "Take inspiration and make it your own," they advise.
ALLIED WITH DMC Alliance

PACIFIC WORLD SINGAPORE
Singapore
TOP OFFICERS Manuel Ferrer, Stephanie Ong
WEBSITE www.pacificworld.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 120 to 150
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $9.4 million
CAPABILITIES Company points with pride to its "originality and creativity in proposals" in support of its full DMC and events capabilities.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Highlights of the past year have included the Estee Lauder Beauty and Grooming Advisors Conference and Asian Travel Leaders Week as part of Travel Rave Singapore.
TRENDS TO WATCH DMCs' margins are shrinking as the local market becomes "more savvy," management says. "DMCs are evolving to provide a full spectrum of MICE services to remain competitive."
ALLIED WITH Global Events Partners

RMC
Aspen, Colo.
TOP OFFICERS Shawn Thomson-Palmero, Nathan Boyd
WEBSITE www.rmcdmc.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 300 to 350
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $15 million
CAPABILITIES Company takes pride in its high-end customer service; "In each of our destinations, we are the in-house exclusive provider to Four Seasons, Montage, St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton."

SPECTRA
London
TOP OFFICERS Wendy Moffat, chairman; Paul Miller, managing director
WEBSITE www.spectra-dmc.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 400
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $10 million to $12 million
CAPABILITIES Operating in the U.K., Scotland and Wales, offering a "creative, flexible, strong team" that is "operationally focused," management says.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Busy over the past year with business from all over the world, "including some of the new and emerging markets," management says. A unique challenge: Navigating London venues as the city prepares for the Olympic Games.
TRENDS TO WATCH "Business has been influenced by a better exchange rate between the pound and the euro, and an increase of business from the USA and the emerging markets of Brazil and China," management says.
ALLIED WITH World Marketing Group

360 DESTINATION GROUP
Irvine, Calif.
TOP OFFICERS Trevor Hanks, CEO; Shelly Archer and Pete Samulewicz, partners
WEBSITE www.360dginc.com
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 300 to 350
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $12.5 million to $14.5 million
CAPABILITIES Rebranded from The Meeting Manager, at 360, "boutique creativity meets operational depth for superb program execution," they say.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS 360’s event roster over the year shows a "rebound" in corporate events and included big-name entertainment events.
TRENDS TO WATCH "An increase in corporate social responsibility, careful management of resources," management says, adding that the incentive program "is slowly but surely coming back."
ALLIED WITH DMC Network

TOP CONGRESS
Barcelona, Spain
TOP OFFICER Ana Lopez
WEBSITE www.topcongress.es
AVERAGE NUMBER OF DMC PROGRAMS PER YEAR 90 to 120
ESTIMATED 2012 REVENUE $8 million
CAPABILITIES Top specializes in events "tailormade" for its clients, management says.
NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Busy this year with SEQC Congress, ACCLC Congress, FACMSC Congress, European Commission meetings and Becton Dickinson Laboratories seminars.
TRENDS TO WATCH On the client side, budgets must be revised continually, while on the supplier side, "prices are getting more stable."

GO WITH THE GROUP

Many DMCs band together in groups that range from casual marketing networks to formal franchise systems. Here are snapshots of the biggest players:

ACCESS DESTINATION SERVICES/DMC CONSORTIUM
Founded in 1970, ACCESS is mixture of company-owned and licensed offices serving destinations throughout North America; all offices are locally owned and operated, maintaining standardized terms, insurance coverage and quality-assurance program.
WEBSITE www.accessdmc.com
TOP OFFICER Christopher H. Lee, DMCP
DMCS IN SYSTEM 10
AREAS SERVED North America
PROGRAMS PER YEAR SYSTEMWIDE 2,200 plus
2012 SYSTEMWIDE REVENUE FORECAST $50 million

ALLIED PRA INC.
Company comprises international, U.S. corporate offices and U.S. locally-owned franchise offices. All offices contribute to a monthly promotional fee and receive global sales assistance, standardized business tools and systems, a quality-assurance compliance program, and centralized, proprietary DMC software to ensure performance and consistency in delivery to clients.
WEBSITE www.alliedpra.com
TOP OFFICER George Pohle
DMCS IN SYSTEM 100 plus
AREAS SERVED North America, Europe, United Arab Emirates
2012 SYSTEMWIDE REVENUE FORECAST $70 million

DMC ALLIANCE
A "concentrated" referral system, members are invited to join based on their destination, years in business and professionalism.
WEBSITE www.dmc-alliance.com
TOP OFFICER Stephanie Arone, DMCP
DMCS IN SYSTEM 12 plus
AREAS SERVED USA

DMC NETWORK
A partnership of independently owned DMCs averaging more than 25 years in business. Partners commit to standards in performance, financial stability and risk management; they benefit from sales, marketing, operations and management support.
WEBSITE www.dmcnetwork.com
TOP OFFICERS Sean Kirkland, Dan Tavrytzky
DMCS IN SYSTEM 30
AREAS SERVED U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico directly; internationally through alliance with Ovation Global
PROGRAMS PER YEAR SYSTEMWIDE 2,500 to 3,000
2012 SYSTEMWIDE REVENUE FORECAST $95 million to $110 million

EUROMIC EVENTS & DESTINATION PARTNERSHIP
An alliance of independently owned DMCs that operate under Euromic's guidelines; participants receive sales and marketing support, trade show representation, market intelligence and client communication services.
WEBSITE www.euromic.com
TOP OFFICERS Joe Lustenberger, Christophe Verstraete
DMCS IN SYSTEM 36
AREAS SERVED Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Central and South America
2012 SYSTEMWIDE REVENUE FORECAST $100 million plus DMCs' annual revenue

GLOBAL EVENTS PARTNERS
GEP provides U.S. sales support for 65 member DMCs in 92 locations worldwide
WEBSITE www.globaleventspartners.com
TOP OFFICERS Chris White, chairman and CEO; Jim Schultenover, president
DMCs IN SYSTEM 65 plus
AREAS SERVED Worldwide
2012 SYSTEMWIDE REVENUE FORECAST $275 million to $300 million

HOSTS GLOBAL ALLIANCE
Rebranded from the former USA Hosts, Hosts Global Alliance is a worldwide consortium of DMCs representing more than 70 destinations globally on all seven continents. Members are independently owned offices that subscribe to the same standards as the HGA company owned offices; they benefit from marketing, dedicated account representative and due diligence services.
WEBSITE www.hosts-global.com
TOP OFFICER Jennifer Patino, DMCP
DMCs IN SYSTEM 54
AREAS SERVED Worldwide
PROGRAMS PER YEAR SYSTEMWIDE 600 to 700
2012 SYSTEMWIDE REVENUE FORECAST $185 million

OVATION GLOBAL DMC
A mix of 22 wholly owned DMCs along with strategic alliances and partnerships with 72 other DMCs; requires marketing fee.
WEBSITE www.ovationdmc.com
TOP OFFICERS Padraic Gilligan, Patrick M. Delaney
DMCs IN SYSTEM 94
AREAS SERVED Worldwide
2012 SYSTEMWIDE REVENUE FORECAST $85 million

WORLD MARKETING GROUP
Provides B-to-B sales and marketing services on a full service or an a la carte marketing retainer and sales incentive basis. WMG specializes in more than 40 international destinations through its portfolio of DMCs and "Key Alliance" partners.
WEBSITE www.worldmarketinggroup.com
TOP OFFICER Jane E. Schuldt, CITE
DMCs IN SYSTEM 22
2012 SYSTEMWIDE REVENUE FORECAST $18 million to $20 million

Note: All information has been provided by the companies listed. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, errors and omissions sometimes occur. All figures are in U.S. dollars.

RELATED STORIES FROM SPECIAL EVENTS

7th Annual Special Events' 25 Top DMCs List

Special Events 2011 Top DMC Network List

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