Destination Professionals was formed in 2001 as a network marketing organisation, with the aim of promoting the services of independent, privately owned and managed destination marketing companies (DMCs) to the worlds’ travel trade.
For a small DMC to develop business from new markets is a highly expensive and time-consuming exercise.
For the most part, these DMCs rely on the same key management personnel, often the owners or directors, to market their services, whilst at the same time keeping a close eye on the day-to-day management and operational functions of their company. Therefore, it is impossible to develop new markets alone, due to the limited time available from these personnel.
A need was seen for an independent organisation to take on the role of marketing these DMCs in key, new and emerging markets.
The important required criteria were cost-effective market penetration, simple organisational structure, a cross-marketing network, and tangible results.
The result is Destination Professionals.
· Building Brand Awareness to give greater exposure to smaller independent DMCs
· Participation with own stand at major travel trade exhibitions in target markets
· Joint sales missions in target markets, and own dedicated sales offices in emerging markets
· Inter-active web site, listing all member companies, with direct onward linking to the member’s own site
· Developing a “Preferred Supplier” programme for industry partners who recognise and support the value of working with DMCs in their countries
· Developing a “Black List” of suppliers who do not comply with the ethics of the travel industry, or provide questionable services.
· Having a “Customer Charter”, to ensure every one of our members operates to the same highly professional recognised industry standards.
· Promoting the destinations served by our members through our office network, and through arranging press and TV trips and exposure, FAM trips and joint co-operation with airlines, embassies and supplier representation in the areas where our sales offices are located.
All of our members already have their own secured, traditional source markets, in which they are personally active in promotion, and into which the majority of their marketing budget is invested.
These source markets naturally differ, depending upon the destination market.
There are, however, some markets where for reasons of lack of knowledge of the market, lack of contacts, and lack of extra funding, many DMCs do not have the ability to promote themselves independently.
Destination Professionals has primarily targeted these emerging markets as our key area of promotional activity.
The four main key markets are Brazil*, Russia**, India and China, collectively known as the BRIC markets.
* which for the purpose of this definition also encompasses Mexico, and could expand as the markets emerge
** which for the purpose of this definition also encompasses much of Eastern Europe including Romania, Bulgaria, etc.
In 2005 Destination Professionals opened our first dedicated sales representation office in Moscow, Russia.
In January 2007, a second dedicated sales representation office was opened in Beijing, China, serving Beijing, Shanghai and all mainland China.
Plans and discussions are already well advanced to have similar sales representation offices opened in Brazil by July 2009 and in India by 2010, giving us total new and emerging market coverage.
Major cultural changes are taking place in the BRIC markets. The urban middle class has satisfied its basic needs, like housing, food and clothing. Travel and mobility are increasingly not unattainable status symbols of luxury, but a fundamental yearning coming close to basic needs. The newly prosperous have started to see their own countries, and to experience new, different, and exotic worlds
Over the next 15 years, the number of people migrating from countryside to cities in China is expected to be the equivalent of the entire population of Western Europe. The same march of people to cities is happening in the other BRIC countries.
These BRIC markets will represent the future for all DMCs worldwide, as business from their traditional source markets decreases due to the increase of low-cost airlines, internet hotel bookings made directly by the passenger, and direct sales by international hotel chains.
Destination Professionals is an independent network marketing organisation.
Destination Professionals does not ask for any shareholding in any partner member DMC.
All member companies are expected to retain their total identity and independence.
One representative (usually the Managing Director or Sales Director) from each member company is the nominated representative for that company, and is responsible for advising Destination Professionals as to which marketing offices, trade shows, sales missions and other activities they wish to undertake each year.
Only ONE incoming DMC will be taken into membership from each country or region (as appropriate), unless the existing member in that company agrees to another member joining the network.
The activities of Destination Professionals, and of the Destination Professionals sales representation offices around the world, will be decided by the Chairman & C.E.O. of Destination Professionals, in consultations with the Directors of the Board, and notified to members every six months, usually in December and June, for the forthcoming period.
A completely “transparent” book-keeping is maintained, with all members having full information of all costs incurred for all trade shows, sales missions and other promotional activity.
The Chairman and Chief Executive, Paul Humphreys, has been involved in tourism since 1979, and is currently also the Chairman of dmAFRICA*, a destination management company serving South and Southern Africa.
The Managing Director, Daniel Brown, has been involved in tourism since 1990, and is currently also the Managing Director of dmAFRICA*.
The Exhibitions Director, Jeremy Lock, has been involved in tourism since 1980, and is currently Managing Director of African Destinations **
*(dmAFRICA is a member of Destination Professionals, and pays the same full costs as all other partner members).
**(African Destinations is a member of Destination Professionals, and pays the same full costs as all other members).
Existing and new members are normally known personally by Members of the Board, or have been recommended by other existing members.
In all cases, extensive investigations and enquiries are made amongst existing members to ascertain the suitability of a prospective member.
The world of international tourism is small, and fortunately most of us have known each other, and how we work, for many years. In this way, we have set Destination Professionals up to be “self – policing”, and encourage members to talk to each other, exchange information, contacts and advice. In the same way, we ask each other about the ongoing performance of other members, and always encourage both positive and negative feedback to be passed on.
Our members are asked to agree to abide by our “Customer Charter” which is designed to protect both the outbound tour operator using the services of a member of Destination Professionals, and the end user of the tours and services
Membership Conditions - PAGE 2