Prepare for the unexpected is a familiar saying in the events
industry, and even more so in light of the pandemic and continued
disruption on the travel front.
Having a destination booking agreement (DBA) in place can help event
planners avoid the unexpected and give them more room for negotiation
when it comes to city-wide events. This is according to Destinations
International, which represents destination organisations and convention
and visitor bureaus worldwide.
Essentially, a DBA is a client agreement document that is utilised by
a CVB/destination organisation when they secure a future meeting or
convention. Historically referred to as a Letter of “Agreement”,
“Intent” or “Commitment”, the document typically outlines both the
commitment and liability associated for both the booking organisation
and the host destination in the event of a cancellation or booking
It says the DBA is important to the destination organisation for a
number of reasons. It clearly outlines commitments from both the host
organisation and the host destination and details out all performance
metrics and financial liabilities. In addition, the DBA also provides
clear timelines, expectations, and accountability for both parties,
addresses the impact of event cancellations and creates more opportunity
for deeper partnerships between the CVB, convention centre and event
How does the DBA impact business events strategists and the host organisation?
Destinations International says it outlines the financial commitments
and provides more consistency in process from destination to
destination, resulting in more operational ease for meeting
professionals as they work with different cities.
It also creates clearly outlined agreements that can protect both
parties and provide specifics about important timelines that could
impact financial penalties. It can also eliminate confusion around
future year agreements when there is a staffing change within the
destination or within the planning team/host organisation.
Destinations International has created a guiding principles document
that will help destinations have a clearer understanding of what items
should be considered when crafting a booking agreement. Just as
importantly, it says, business events strategists should familiarise
themselves with the principles and what to expect when working with a
destination to confirm a city-wide event in future years.