DMC pioneer Patti Roscoe, founder of the franchise system that has since grown to become industry powerhouse PRA/Allied International, looks at both good and bad developments in her business as trends change and the economy contracts. The interview appears in the April issue of Special Events Magazine.
On the good side, DMCs have blossomed from small companies doing city tours and airport runs to become savvy about the psychology behind incentive trips, Roscoe notes.
WHERE'S THE MONEY?
On the bad side, the DMC business has changed from "a business of honor to one of voracity," she says. Whereas a handshake and a promise once served as a business contract, "We now have multi-page documents that outline each and every transaction and, if not followed to the letter, lawsuits ensue," she notes. "It’s no longer good enough to provide outstanding service and make a reasonable profit. Every step along the way, there are hands out looking for a commission from an ever-shrinking profit."
The current public ire about supposedly "frivolous" incentive trips is changing how DMCs work, Roscoe says. "Keeping a low profile and providing more serious program content has become important to many of our clients," she explains. "Activities where attendees can give back to a community have gained in popularity, benefiting local not-for-profits while providing attendees with a real sense of accomplishment." She adds, "Evening events with less glitz and alcohol have become the norm."
Other ways that event planners can adapt to the new climate is by adding eco-friendly elements to their events. "Green programs and their implications for the health and future of our planet will continue to flourish," Roscoe says.