Selina Chavry, Global Managing Director of Pacific World DMC gave an interview on the changing landscape of Destination Marketing and the role of DMC’s in promoting destinations to MICE operators. Pacific World DMC is a global operator with a global coverage to offer the most suitable and cost effective destination solution for meetings and events. MICExchange asked Chavry, looks for in a destination and gives hints on what event planners should be aware of in selecting their next event destination is a market that is once again shifting from Regional to Global.Q1. What criteria do you look for when looking to market or develop business into a new destination?
Chavry – At Pacific World our focus is on delivering an exceptional service to our clients and therefore it’s their needs that drive our new destination footprint. Increasingly our clients rely on us to support their events from one destination to the next, offering unique knowledge and experience, and it’s important we’re in the major event locations around the world as well as opening our doors to the up and coming destinations.
Our annual global Destination Index provides us insight into what destinations are hot at the moment and what types of events, meetings, incentives or conferences are taking off in particular regions, as well as general trends within the industry and security concerns. Additionally we are always taking into consideration the feedback we receive from our clients, in particular if they are interested in a destination that we have not established ourselves in.
Q2. Does Pacific World DMC see a longer term trend that event planners could or should be aware of when looking for their next event destination?
Chavry – We are seeing a new kind of event planners, younger, used to technology, looking to satisfy the demand of a like-minded audience looking for more experiential and immersive activities and this trend is affecting the way they want to experience the destination. For example, with destinations that have been hosting meetings and events for decades, these planners want to look for new and different ways to discover the city and also, visit the hidden corners where usually only locals can access. They also have a demand for new and undiscovered destinations—they want to be the first to discover new places and then share it though their different social media channels. They might like to discover Barcelona or Hong Kong but be guided by a local artist or blog writer to discover the cool, unknown places off the beaten track.
Q3. How can Pacific World DMC compete globally as the current Business Events industry trend is to be regional or even locally focused on destinations?
Chavry – When launching new destinations, we often partner with local DMCs who can provide us access to their industry contacts, local knowledge and years of experience in delivering successful meetings, events, conferences and incentives in the destination. We are essentially a global business offering a local service to all of our clients.
Some examples of this are our partnership with JTB Global Marketing & Travel whom we work with on Pacific World Japan, our partnership with Access Global whom we work with to offer services in the US, our partnership with TUI China, our partnership with Lima Tours whom we work with on Pacific World Peru, and most recently our partnership with albamy whom we work with on Pacific World Germany.
However, not every new destination we launch involves a partnership with a local DMC, for example Pacific World Myanmar is our newest launch and in this instance we reached out to Myanmar Polestar to us help establish a professional MICE team onsite and put everything into place. Their local knowledge of Myanmar and the intricacies of planning events in the country has been invaluable to us over the past year.
Q4. What are the “hidden gem” destinations that are ready to take off and why?
Chavry – New destinations are constantly popping up in this industry and as a global DMC it’s our responsibility to stay up to date with these developments in order to provide the highest quality service. Our newest destination, Myanmar, is certainly a hidden gem; while in the past Myanmar’s tourism market was mainly based on natural and cultural attractions, perspectives are changing.
Myanmar has been working to position itself as a MICE destination for a number of years and we have seen an increased interest from our clients, looking to host their events there. Developments such as an increased number of flights making the destination more accessible or a dedication to developing the infrastructure with venues such as the Novotel Yangon Max, the largest ballroom in Yangon with a capacity of 750 guests, or the former Rowe & Co building, situated in downtown Yangon which has undergone restoration and can now host meetings and conferences, have prepared the destination for the international MICE community.
Additionally, recognition from the community has increased the popularity of Myanmar and changed the conversation. Most notably Myanmar entered into a landmark partnership with a big player in the MICE industry, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, hosted product launches from major brands such as Heineken and Carlsberg, and also hosted the Asean Tourism Forum.
Q5. Some counties have big domestic markets, such as India and China. How is this playing out in destination marketing in terms of incoming or internal MICE business.
Chavry – India and China are two of the world’s largest business events markets and Pacific World is now taking a leader’s position in those markets as we see a great potential for growth in terms of both inbound and internal business to these two destinations.
We have organized meetings and incentives for big brand and companies for decades in India and China. We are seeing a demand for conferences combined with visits to factories—this has become a popular itinerary– and many international companies with a presence in China look for our support to organize these kind of events. Clients are also increasingly looking for a DMC with a compliance program in place. With the requests and events operated in domestic markets growing we are also seeing companies looking for a partner able to offer Health & Safety and Risk Management programs.
Q6. There are a number of Security “hot spots” around the globe, what can destinations or even Pacific World do to reassure Event Planners and build confidence in certain destinations?
Chavry – From the perspective of a DMC, having relationships with the locals and the local authorities, as well as in-depth knowledge of the geography of a destination is essential when dealing with a location with security issues. One of our most popular destinations, Thailand, is just turning the corner from being labeled an ‘unsafe’ destination and it is both our relationship with the local community and the detailed organization that goes into our events, incentives and meetings that has allowed us to keep our clients safe and happy.
In recent years we have witnessed an increased demand from our clients for compliance programs, which allow them to manage their meetings and events safely and minimize the risks. One of the biggest challenges we face, when we start operating in a location with a reputation for being ‘unsafe,’, is working to put the necessary infrastructure in place which allows us to ensure that each destination meets the safety and security standards that are synonymous with Pacific World globally.
Q7. What do you see as the best indicator that Pacific World DMC is “getting it right” in its global business operations.
Chavry – Recognition from our clients is at the top of the list in terms of what we look for to confirm that we’re “getting it right.” We continually receive positive feedback from clients and here are just a few examples:
“As a partner, Pacific World Spain has been representing the ibtm world brand in a professional and friendly manner with high levels of customer service for our visitors. The attention to detail and the ease of the working relationship are some of the factors that we most value from Pacific World work. Nothing is too much trouble!
-June Clark, Reed Travel Exhibitions (UK)
“Thank you so much for everything you did to make the BMW Dealer Business Conference celebrated in Beijing such a success. All the feedback we have received has been outstanding and amny of the guests have said this was the best event BMW has ever done. Your hard work, dedication, long hours and flexibility with all our requirements was greatly appreciated and this made the event a huge success.”
-Emma Rosling-Heppell, Events Manager, BMW UK
“Nearly twelve months of planning and changes to plans, nearly twelve months of development of new ideas, challenges and going new paths; nearly twelve months of perfect and prompt service; nearly twelve months of operating smoothly with good professionals. In a word, twelve of the most efficient, best-served and most cooperative months thanks to Pacific World South Africa a team of experienced and skilled professionals which have their heart in the right place.”
-Nadine Engels, Managing Director, Das gewisse E! GmbH
And awards help too. To name just a few, CEI Asia has recognised us as one of the Top Business Events Companies in Asia, Special Events has recognised us as one of the top DMCs, eventoplus awarded us the “Silver Eventoplus Award for Brand Launch Event,” the Malaysia Business Events Awards for Excellence (rAWr Awards) has twice awarded us ‘Best Incentive Programme’ and most recently we were selected as one of the winners of Aimia’s 2016 Passion for Excellence Award.
However, even with such great feedback our focus is on what’s next– what makes Pacific World stand out is our continued commitment to enhancing the experiences of our clients by striving to continually deliver results through innovation, creativity, and strategic planning.