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"It's the Dollar, Stupid!"
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Where the Destination Management Company (DMC)
Business Is Going, 2008

Results of Exclusive GEP Survey of Worldwide DMC Partners Gives Snapshot of Expectations for the Year Ahead
  • 2008 revenues will be stronger than 2007, though impact of currency shifts will be significant 
  • U.S. partners and international partners agree that there will be fewer “big events” 
  • -“Hot” Destinations:” China and Mexico on the Rise . . .”Old Stand-Bys,” London, Caribbean and Las Vegas will continue to be hot sites for meetings and special events  
Washington, D.C. (November 19, 2007) . . . A weakening greenback is the central concern for DMCs worldwide going into 2008, as currency fluctuations cast doubt on booking patterns - and though revenues overall are likely to increase, big events are likely to dip, as emergent China and Mexico compete with London, Caribbean and Las Vegas as the “first choice” for meetings and events in the new year. 

This according to Global Events Partners (GEP), a partnership of destination management companies worldwide, which today released the results of a proprietary survey of its partner destination management companies (DMCs), representing more than 70 countries worldwide, which asked partners to indicate where they think the business is going in 2008.

For the third year running, the results provide a compelling snapshot of what next year may look like for the industry around the world, in terms of anticipated revenues; challenges to DMC professionals; and “hot” destinations likely to generate the most business from meeting planners and others engaged in planning corporate events in 2008.

A summary of survey results, and the methodology employed in the survey, follow.

2008 DMC Survey Results

More than two-thirds of GEP’s partners responded to the survey, representing close to 40 countries worldwide, including Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, and all major markets within the United States.

Among those responding to the survey:
 

More than 80% of all respondents expected revenues for corporate events to “increase or remain the same” in 2008, versus 2007. 
All but three DMCs in the U.S. expected revenues to increase year over year, with a slightly smaller percentage of DMCs outside the U.S expressing similarly optimistic views. DMCs in half a dozen international destinations expected either a decline in revenues, or at best, revenues to remain about the same as in 2007.
• While most respondents expect increases in revenue, close to half expect that “big events”- defined as programs for more than 200 attendees -  will fall, as planners continue to look for maximum service and diverse experiences, with the shortest lead times possible. 
The weakening of the U.S. dollar and strengthening of the Euro emerged as central themes, in terms of where programs are booked, the level of potential spending on events, and how DMCs adapt their business plans to serve clients. 
Several international DMC partners anticipated seeing less event traffic from U.S. companies owing to the rapid fall in the value of the dollar. U.S. Partners also cited fluctuations in currency as a major factor in determining how they plan for 2008 – including hiring, negotiating fees and flow of business. All partners agreed that currency fluctuations would continue to play a major role in their business plans for 2008. 
Apart from currency, the anticipated challenges for 2008 that were mentioned most frequently include:
  1. Short lead times and shifting program requirements requiring more work, faster - without a concomitant increase in fees.
  2. Program budget constraints and stringent procurement requirements, together, pressuring profits.
  3. The difficulty of finding, training and retaining qualified staff to maintain high quality service.
In a notable departure from the 2006 and 2007 surveys, a handful of DMCs mentioned customers “going direct” to vendors as a major challenge to their businesses – suggesting that pressures on DMCs to deliver uniquely bundled and properly valued program options, will continue to increase. 

• There were some surprises among the destinations that GEP partners believe will be the “hottest” for corporate meetings and events in 2008 – among them:
  • China and Mexico emerged as the top destinations on the list for the first time ever, with close to a third of respondents, from all parts of the world, listing them as most desired destinations. The Beijing Olympics, in particular, were seen as a boost for China.
  • Dubai and London continued as favorites, with several partners mentioning them as the hot destinations for 2008. 
  • “Old reliables” such as Las Vegas, the Caribbean and Southern California stayed high on the list, and seem likely continuing as favorites among meeting planners.
  • Addtionally cited among “hot” destinations:  In the U.S., Hawaii, Chicago, and New York drew multiple responses – internationally, Italy, France Austria and Latin America received at least three mentions.

Commenting on the survey results, Chris White, GEP’s Chairman and CEO, said:  “For a third year running, we are pleased to share these results with the DMC and meeting planning industries. As we close 2007, a year that saw strong results for the destination management industry worldwide, 2008 looks like it will be even better – though it is clear that external factors such as currencies, and internal factors such as profit margin compression, remain challenges.” 

White concluded, “The spirit that continues to animate our industry – worldwide, from Miami to Malaysia to Madrid – is one of optimism and expected growth, despite challenges that will require even harder work, tighter and stronger business models, and a greater focus on customized client service than ever before. We thank our partners for their participation in this study, and applaud their vision, optimism and energy as we move toward another exciting year.”

Methodology: About the Survey

To obtain survey results, questionnaires were distributed via email to owners and principals of the more than seventy (70) Global Events Partners DMCs worldwide. 

Each partner was asked to respond to five questions:

  1. Do you expect revenues for your DMC business to increase or decrease in calendar year 2008 versus 2007?
  2. Do you expect to see “big events”- those involving more than 200 people – increase or decrease year over year?
  3. Do you expect to seem more or less revenue from corporate meeting planners?
  4. What do you expect to be the “hot” meeting and event destinations in 2008?
  5. What do you see as the major business issues facing DMCs in 2008?
Each partner was assured of the confidentiality of his/her responses, but was advised that each response would be used to formulate conclusions in the aggregate.

For more information on the methodology of the survey, or to interview any of the GEP participants for further details, please contact michael@mfcpr.com.

About Global Events Partners (GEP)

Launched in 1999, Global Events Partners’ portfolio includes more than 70 leading destination management companies (DMCs) around the world.  A DMC is a professional services company possessing extensive local knowledge and resources, specializing in the design and execution of group tours, transportation, events, activities and program logistics. GEP partners provide consistently high quality DMC services in the most desirable locations worldwide. For more information on Global Events Partners, visit www.globaleventspartners.com.

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Contact:

Michael Frenkel, MFC PR – New York
for Global Events Partners
(212) 808-6556
michael@mfcpr.com

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Also See: Where the DMC Business is Going: 2007 / November 2006
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