August 26th, 2019

Global DMC Partners' Sixth Annual Connection Inspires Innovation, Creativity, and Advancement of the MICE Industry

Global DMC Partners, an elite partnership of independently owned destination management companies (DMCs) and creative event experts serving more than 500 premier locations worldwide, has successfully concluded its sixth annual Connection event in Cancun, Mexico. This highly qualified group of meeting planners, global DMCs and the Global DMC Partners team met from August 22 to 25 to identify and present upcoming trends, to network with industry peers and to discuss ways to work together more effectively. Global DMC Partners selected Tropical Incentives DMC and Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach to host this year’s event.

“We in the meetings and events industry keenly understand the importance of facetime for meaningful discussion and advancing business,” said Global DMC Partners President and CEO Catherine Chaulet. “Connection gives us the opportunity to bring together the industry’s top meeting professionals and DMCs to analyze global trends and, most importantly, to participate in one-on-one networking opportunities that strengthen our professional relationships.”

Catherine Chaulet

During her keynote address, Chaulet covered important topics such as global economic indicators showing a softening of the world economy, its impact on group booking trends and the implications for meeting planners. She highlighted tourism’s direct impact on economic growth and job markets worldwide and how corporations that focus on socially responsible initiatives through their events and incentives directly contribute to supporting local growth, reducing poverty, protecting the environment and promoting peace.

Chaulet also revealed Global DMC Partners’ list of top meeting and incentive destinations for 2019 as well as the top destination predictions for 2020. At the same time she addressed concerns regarding overtourism and undertourism. Chaulet believes that DMCs and meeting planners share an important responsibility to inform and educate their clients on emerging or secondary destinations. Further, DMCs are best positioned to create new, never-before-seen experiences that help bring awareness to lesser-known destinations and venues within their respective markets, bringing economic opportunities to areas in need while lessening the environmental impact on over-touristed hotspots. DMCs can help their clients discover, or re-discover, popular destinations while avoiding overly toured areas through their extensive, first-hand knowledge in the market.

Highlights from general business sessions included:

  • Real Talk: The Perceptions vs. The Reality of Mexico by Jane Garcia, General Director of Tourism (Municipal)
  • A Candid Discussion on Ways DMCs and Planners Can Work Better Together, with panelists:
    • Richard Bridge, Top Banana
    • Chris Curry, Destinations by Design
    • Kim Hester, JNR Incorporated 
    • Chelsey Taylor, MCW Events
    • David Rome, CMP, DMCP, BBC Destination Management

Catherine Chaulet, Chelsey Taylor, Richard Bridge, Kim Hester, Chris Curry, David Rome

Breakout sessions focused on attendee experience, creative event themes, negotiating with DMCs and destination trends. In addition to the professional development sessions, more than 840 one-on-one appointments between planners and DMCs took place on the show floor over the course of two days.

As with any well-executed event, the conference provided time for fun and time to explore Cancun’s offerings for groups and meetings, which also included valuable off-site networking opportunities. Participants had the opportunity to partake in a jungle speed boat tour with snorkeling, a Mayan history experience, an adventurous zipline and ropes course and a Mexican cooking class. Those looking for a more relaxed experience had the choice of browsing street markets and gift shops or lounging by the pool in the dedicated “Club GDP” lounge.

During the final evening event, Global DMC Partners presented its annual awards for 2019:

  • Lynette Donahue, Event Travel Management, as 2019 Rising Star
  • Kim Hester, JNR Incorporated, as 2019 Global Planner of the Year
  • Florida Meeting Services, as 2019 U.S. Partner of the Year
  • Spaintacular, as 2019 International Partner of the Year

Erin Rougeux, Ed Beaman, Claudia Vila, Catherine Chaulet

Global DMC Partners selected the client award winners after thoughtful review of the winners’ customer loyalty, dedication to Global DMC Partners’ growth and success and meetings and incentives industry involvement. The Partner of the Year awards are presented annually to the highest-achieving DMCs out of a pool of more than 65 DMC members. Each award winner must exceed specific selection criteria based on creativity, quality, operational excellence, customer satisfaction and active involvement within Global DMC Partners.

Erin Rougeux, Nacho Ferrando, Franziska Stein, Catherine Chaulet

The event culminated with the highly anticipated announcement of Global DMC Partners’ next Connection, taking place in the Southern European island of Malta, December 4-7, 2020.