Destinations International Unveils New Booking Agreement

Press conference at IMEX America 2022

Skift Take

Industry collaboration takes on added importance in a post-pandemic world. Destinations International has launched a new toolkit to help.

The newly released Destinations International (DI) Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) features a toolkit with a best practice outline on mutually agreeable terms that protect both destinations and meeting professionals.

The DBA is a product of DI’s Large Market Roundtable, a group within DI representing destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in major markets. Its focus is to hold both convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and meeting professionals accountable when booking meetings and events. 

The role of destination organizations has grown to go far beyond marketing. Managing risk is one of many areas of responsibility. For example, if a citywide convention cancels, it creates far-reaching effects. The guiding principles included in the DBA, a work in progress since before the Covid pandemic, aim to help mitigate this.

“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,” said Melissa A. Riley, vice president, convention sales and services, Destination DC and chair of the Destinations International Large Market Roundtable. 

This booking agreement provides timelines, expectations, and accountability for all parties involved. It also addresses the impact of event cancellations. Destinations International has standardized these documents, and each destination organization adds custom information relevant to its locale. The checklist of best practices includes cancellation clauses and terms, a deposit schedule, hotel incentives, commissions, and more.

“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. 

“It is imperative that our customers feel equally protected within our agreements, from securing dates to making concessions legally binding,” said Dustin Arnehim, senior vice president of sales and services at Choose Chicago.

Turnover is an issue in all industries, and the DBA can help. “Capturing the destination organization’s commitments in the DBA prevents anything from being lost or misinterpreted when new staff come on board,” adds Arnehim. 

Destinations International president and CEO Don Welsh quickly points out that this is not only a U.S.-based initiative. “We are going to refine it; make sure it is a well-oiled machine and then put out on the global scale,” he said. “This is a universal adoption. We hope this discussion document will allow great conversations to take place. Work has just begun.”

Photo credit: Destinations International’s Don Welsh explains the new booking agreement during IMEX as (from left) Emily Scheiderer, DI; Melissa Riley, Destination DC; Junior Tauvaa, Visit Anaheim, and Dustin Arnheim, Choose Chicago look on.