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Destinations International Announces New Destination Booking Agreement

October 13, 2022
Destinations International panel releases DBA at IMEX America

Destinations International (DI) announced its new Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) at IMEX America 2022. With it comes a toolkit that provides standardized guiding principles to establish mutually agreeable terms to protect both destinations and business events strategists.

The toolkit is comprised of the following:

  • An overview document that provides history and context.
  • A guiding principles document that details the considerations that should be taken into account when creating an agreement.

Soon to follow, several destination case studies will be released to support the resources, promote risk mitigation and encourage a valuable dialogue between a host organization and a destination.

Destinations International’s Large Market Roundtable, which is comprised of 30 large-market destination representatives, has largely spearheaded the conversation since 2019 that led to the creation of the DBA, expressing a need for CVBs/DMOs and business events strategists to work together to have accountability for the booking of meetings and events. Three Large Market Roundtable members—Dustin Armheim, senior vice president sales and services, Choose Chicago; Junior Tauvaa, chief sales officer, Visit Anaheim; and Melissa A. Riley, vice president, convention sales and services, Destination DC—were on an IMEX America panel to present the product’s launch.

“The need for CVBs and business events strategists to come together to create best practices for destination booking agreement guidelines has been an ongoing conversation for our industry,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, in a release debuting the DBA. “Destinations International’s Large Market Roundtable has done great work to take the lead on this thought leadership that will ultimately enhance our entire industry moving forward.”

“Thanks to the work of the Large Market Roundtable and industry partners, there is now a level of accountability for both parties involved, creating the foundation for a legitimized exchange of goods and services within business events when a destination is selected,” Riley added. “The new standards will help us all continue to strengthen the meetings and events industry as we focus on the positive economic and social impact they bring to our respective destinations.”

The panel acknowledged that last-minute cancellations for city-wide events create hardship for DMOs who must fill the voids, and this more-standardized agreement would help protect them from that. However, they emphasized that the DBA is meant to protect the customer as well by increasing communication and collaboration and forging accountability between both parties.

“The sellers have historically not cancelled events,” Armheim noted. “But the dynamics in the marketplace, the buying cycles, the size of events that are moving into destinations, are changing the dynamics of our industry. And so it is very important that we clearly articulate the terms of agreement and that both parties are protected. The other thing that we see in our industry right now is that there's turnover in labor, and so we want our customers to be protected.”

The toolkit is meant to serve as a guide, which means destinations can still customize agreements to fit their needs and a group’s needs.

“DBAs allow destinations to clearly articulate and itemize dates, rates, space and any incentives or concessions offered to clients to secure their business,” Tauvaa said. “Destinations International has contributed to standardizing these documents while allowing each destination organization to localize it based on their respective destinations.”

[Related: Destinations International’s Annual Convention Explores the DMO of the Future]

A Useful Tool for the Challenges to Come

COVID-19 is undoubtedly one of the prime culprits of event cancellations in recent years, but Riley noted that the creation of the DBA wasn’t born simply because of the pandemic.

“As an industry, we continue to navigate incredibly difficult times, as we all know. But I just want to reiterate that this is about the complexities of cancellations; this isn't a COVID issue,” Riley explained. “This is something that started long before the pandemic, and as we look forward to social challenges and political challenges, the landscape is changing very, very rapidly on a very frequent basis. 

“We really need to look at ways that we can continue to build that shared accountability forward,” she continued. “So, it's really about collaboration over cancellation. And it creates deeper partnerships on both the supplier side, the planner side, the convention center side or hotel community as a whole.”

Learn more about the DBA, and don’t miss more news released at IMEX America.

Read this next: Destination Canada Announces City Additions to Global Destination Sustainability Index

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About the author
Danielle LeBreck | Senior Content Director

Danielle started at Meetings Today in March 2019 after seven years of editorial experience in the travel and food industries. She oversees all of the destination content for Meetings Today and collaborates with the team on digital content strategy and content marketing initiatives.