Destination Booking Agreement (DBA)

For years now, more and more destination organizations have been working to create client agreements that will allow them to be a good steward of the product they represent and also outline with clarity the commitments associated with the future city-wide events, to the benefit of all stakeholders, serving as an advocate for both the customer and the destination.

So, what does this mean for the Business Events Strategist? Having a comprehensive understanding of the direction the industry is going and familiarity with the DBA will allow the Event Strategist to avoid the unexpected and best negotiate favorable terms.

What is the Destination Booking Agreement (DBA)?

The Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) is a client agreement document that is utilized by a CVB/Destination Organization when they secure a future meeting or convention. Historically referred to as a Letter of “Agreement”, “Intent” or “Commitment”, the document typically outlines both the commitment and liability associated for both the booking organization and the host destination in the event of a cancellation or booking displacement.

Why is the DBA important to the destination organization?

The DBA provides clearly outlined commitments from both the host organization and the host destinations and details out all performance metrics and financial liabilities. In addition, the DBA also:

  • Provides clear timelines, expectations, and accountability for both parties.
  • Addresses the impact of event cancellations.
  • Creates more opportunity for deeper partnerships between the CVB, Convention Center and Event Strategists.
  • Helps the destination be a good steward of the product they represent and their extended partners in the destination.

How does the DBA impact business events strategists and the host organization?

  • Outlines the financial commitments and provide more consistency in process from destination to destination resulting in more operational ease for meeting professionals as they work with different cities.
  • Creates clearly outlined agreements that can protect both parties and provide specifics about important timelines that could impact financial penalties.
  • Eliminates confusion around future year agreements when there is a staffing change within the destination or within the planning team/host organization.
  • Allows for negotiation of terms that could potentially protect space for city-wide events, which are often limited in the number of destinations that can accommodate due to size (example: mutual cancellation).
  • In some cases, it can help the CVB secure more rooms for the block because some hotels will provide the inventory when there is financial security prior to hotel contracting.
  • In some cases, it can provide space security for a future year without the same immediate financial commitment associated with some venue license agreements.

Destination Booking Agreement Guiding Principles

The Destinations International Large Market Roundtable has created a guiding principles document that will help destinations have a clearer understanding of what items should be considered when crafting a booking agreement. Just as importantly, Business Events Strategists should familiarize themselves with the principles and what to expect when working with a destination to confirm a city-wide event in future years.

Guiding Principles image

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About The Author

Emily Scheiderer

Senior Director of Education, Sales, and Services

Emily Scheiderer is a hospitality enthusiast with a background that includes both DMO and hotel experience. Emily’s passion for inclusivity has driven her to make meaningful connections both in and out of the industry that have included a two-year commitment to the ISAE Government Affairs committee and serving as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society’s ResearcHERS campaign. As a self-described “data nerd”, she enjoys any opportunity to expand her mind and learn. 

Read some of Emily's recent publications: 

Business Events Industry Focus Is Shifting Back to the Future

Business Event Profs Are Better Together

Smart Meetings Award Winners 2022

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