Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) Toolkit

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<span>Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) Toolkit</span>

By: Emily Scheiderer, Destinations International

With the launch of Destinations International’s new Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) toolkit, destination organizations now have a tool that will support them in the creation of clear and concise future year agreements that bring value to all involved.

Destinations Collaborate to Launch a New Industry Tool 

The business events industry represents massive impacts on global economies and workforces and, though there has been a heightened awareness of the value of the industry post-pandemic, the conversations that we as an industry have been having about how to embrace our responsibilities to enhance that value, far precede the pandemic. The financial and extended impacts of meetings and events are essential to a destination’s livelihood, but historically the process for securing space for large scale events has varied from destination to destination through different forms of letters of agreement, intent, or commitment.  

Dustin Arnheim (Choose Chicago), Junior Tauvaa (Visit Anaheim), Melissa Riley (Destination DC) & Emily Scheiderer (Destinations International) launch the DBA toolkit at IMEX Americas 2022  
Photo Credit: Destinations International 

As our industry gathered in Las Vegas for IMEX Americas 2022, Destinations International rolled out the Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) toolkit to provide more consistency in industry terminology and to provide destination organizations with the tools they need to comprehensively articulate and protect the value of the commodity that they represent. This industry resource was the result of the shared thought leadership and ongoing work of the Large Market Roundtable, a taskforce group that is comprised of sales leaders in 30 of the largest destinations in North America. Though the concepts originated from this group, the toolkit has been designed to provide context and guiding principles that will support destinations of all sizes and in all locations in having meaningful conversations with groups that are looking to secure space for future years. 

An Asset to the Industry  

Destination organizations are stewards of the product they represent and with that comes a responsibility to all stakeholders, internal and external. Serving as the advocate for both the event organizer and the destination’s assets, there is an obligation on their part to evaluate the value for all and present clear and concise timelines, expectations, and accountability for both parties. Short term cancellations impact the destinations’ ability to re-sell space and put the destination in a position where the financial loss may not be able to be made up due to the typical booking cycles for large size events. This financially affects the overall economic impact of the destination, and that loss is extended not only to the industry partners like hotels, restaurants and attractions, but also to the individuals who make up the workforce in that destination.  

Embracing the DBA helps a destination organization facilitate deeper partnerships, reduce risk and maximize success for all. As more and more destinations are committing to structuring DBAs to be inclusive and descriptive of terms that fairly distribute liabilities and promote risk mitigation for both sides, there is a clear increase in the support of an industry that is continually navigating the complexities of potential cancellations regardless of the cause for displacement.  

An Asset to the Event Strategist   

Creating the opportunity for more clarity and consistency was not done without consideration of all involved in the process. Understanding that event organizers also have a responsibility of risk mitigation and a limited number of destinations that can accommodate their event due to the size, these short-term cancellations are equally problematic for the planner who is charged with finding another destination outside of the booking window.  

Creating agreements that are equitable for all will provide the event organizer with the security of legally binding dates and concessions prior to the finalizing of convention center license agreements or hotel contracts. In addition to that security, outlining the destination organization’s commitments will help the strategist avoid anything from being lost or misinterpreted when either organization experiences staffing changes during a time of workforce uncertainty.  

Accessing the Toolkit 

As the industry moves forward in this direction, the commitment to the valuable dialogue between the event strategist and the destination paves the way for deeper partnerships, elimination of confusion around future year agreements and, ultimately, future proofing for the industry. 

Access the Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) Toolkit to learn more about crafting a Destination Booking Agreement and to view case studies of destinations who are seeing success in their own DBAs.