Having finished two weekends in a row where I was assisting our Project Managers with incentive group travel, it amazes me how some DMCs don’t have PMs on site during their client’s travel to Scotland and other destinations...
I think on-site support is an essential service that all DMCs must provide for their clients who have large, or logistically complex groups. Here’s why…
Details Change all the Time
In an ideal world the fine details of each program would be decided and set in stone before the group travel, however in reality that just doesn’t happen. Even up until the 11th hour things can change, like group numbers and weather, or the end client and the participants can change their mind on-site.
As their DMC, if you’re not on site, how do you cope with these changes? And as a client, how do you feel about making these changes yourself? From either prospective above I feel uneasy - it’s inevitable that things change and that there should be support on-site to make the changes as easy and smooth as possible.
Local DMC’s will generally book local suppliers for things like transport, activities, restaurants and venues. It’s absolutely necessary as a DMC to trust your suppliers 100%, after all, they are representing you!
Local suppliers will co-ordianate their part of the program and their own staff that are involved, but who coordinates them all overall? Making sure that there is a flow between each element of the program, that any last minute changes are communicated effectively, to ensure that what you have promised your client is delivered?
It’s difficult to coordinate any of this without being on-site and knowing exactly what’s happening and preparing for the next part of the program.
This might seem a bit fluffy, but the best way to build relationships between DMCs, Clients and even Suppliers is to be there. There’s nothing better that sitting back at the end of program knowing that as a collective team, you’ve worked hard together, throughout the whole program, to make it a success. This is how lifelong friendships and business relationships are formed.
Contingency planning is always essential, however there will be things that you simply can’t plan for, like natural disasters, adverse unexpected weather, or problems within the travelling group, for example the health of participants.
Your DMC should be on-site, or at the very least a phone call away if anything like this should happen. DMCs need to remember that you, the client, are in a different country with, for example, a different language and dfferent emergency response procedures.
A representative from your DMC should be on hand to support you when unforeseen circumstances evolve.
What do you think about on-site support for traveling groups? Have you got stories where this has been essential or problems when the support hasn’t been there? Please share your experiences with us and the other blog readers.