Destinations International Unveils Booking Agreement to Protect Destinations and Event Professionals

October 28, 2022

Destinations International, the world’s largest resource for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), announced a Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) that includes a toolkit to establish mutually agreeable terms to protect both the destination and the business event professional.

The announcement was made at the recent IMEX America show in Las Vegas, where Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, and three representatives from Destinations International’s Large Market Roundtable were on hand to discuss the DBA’s importance to the industry.  

“The need for CVBs and business event [professionals] to come together to create best practices for destination booking agreement guidelines has been an ongoing conversation for our industry,” said Welsh said. “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.”

The roundtable, which includes Destinations International officials and representatives from more than 30 large market destinations in the U.S. and Canada, has been discussing the need for destinations and business event professionals to work together to have accountability for the booking of meetings and events since 2019.

Factors such as the COVID pandemic, natural disasters due to climate change and acts of violence have wreaked havoc on the industry, particularly with the impact city-wide cancellations have on a host destination that must fill the voids.

The DBA addresses concerns such as cancellations and other important issues with clearly outlined commitments and financial liabilities for all parties, in addition to clear timelines, expectations and accountability. Additionally, the agreement aims to create deeper partnerships between event professionals, host organizations, host destinations, convention centers, hotels and other suppliers.

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

The new level of accountability for both parties involved creates the foundation for a legitimized exchange of goods and services within business events when a destination is selected, according to Melissa A. Riley, vice president, convention sales and services at Destination DC and chair of the Large Market Roundtable.

“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,” Riley said.

According to Dustin Arnheim, senior vice president of sales and services at Choose Chicago, the DBA is a win-win for all involved parties.  

“I am excited for this journey and look forward to our industry getting to a place where our contractual agreements are equitable for all—both suppliers and event organizers,” Arnheim said. “It is imperative that our customers feel equally protected within our agreements—from securing dates to making concessions legally binding.”  

Arnheim added that he also sees the DBA as an important communication tool, particularly since there continues to be significant turnover in the hospitality industry.

“Capturing the destination organization’s commitments in the DBA prevents anything from being lost or misinterpreted when new staff come on board," he said.

While the initiative was first unveiled for the North America market, Destinations International plans to further refine it and promote it globally with the hope that it will become universally adopted within the industry.

For more information on the DBA and to download the toolkit, click here.

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