Skip to content
group of event managers working with a corporate client
Madison ShepherdApr 12, 2024 11:46:11 AM6 min read

Event Management vs. Destination Management Companies

Not sure if you should go with an Event Management Company (EMC) or a Destination Management Company (DMC) for planning your next event?

We’re here to help. 

Choosing which company to work with really depends on what you need for your event. 

This article will help you determine whether an Event Management Company or a DMC is right for you.

Defining Event Management and Destination Management Companies

Defining EMCs and DMCs

What is an Event Management Company?

An Event Management Company (EMC) offers comprehensive planning, strategy, and execution for a wide range of events, from large-scale conferences and corporate meetings to incentive trips and tradeshows.

Unlike DMCs that operate in specific locations, EMCs typically can operate in multiple destinations or even worldwide.

EMCs provide comprehensive solutions to help your company leverage events to support business initiatives, whether that’s the logistical fulfillment of your event or additional strategic support. 

What is a Destination Management Company?

A Destination Management Company (DMC) provides services for events, meetings, and conferences in specific destinations. They act as local partners, bringing an understanding of the destination to create authentic event experiences.

DMCs are typically local companies focused on a specific market and tend to be more task-oriented. They usually offer a curated list of services and connections with local vendors.

DMCs boast strong connections and expertise in a specific market, making them attractive to companies looking for help in particular cities.

Scope of Services

scope of services

Event Management Companies: Strategic Partners

From strategy development to execution, Event Management Companies (EMCs) handle every detail of your event. EMCs value long-term partnerships with their clients and work closely with you to understand their businesses. 

We find that longer-term relationships with clients create efficiencies and understandings. By building a strong partnership with you, EMCs can understand your goals and preferences more fully year after year, acting as an extension of your team. 

But most importantly, event management agencies work with you on strategy, helping you develop a comprehensive picture for all your events.

Services that EMCs provide include:

  • Full-service event planning
  • Budgeting & KPIs
  • Event design
  • Technical support
  • Hoteling & site selection
  • Contract negotiations
  • Logistics management
  • Vendor management
  • Attendee registration
  • Entertainment sourcing
  • Onsite support
  • Attendee experience 
  • Post-event support

scope of services chart describing the differences between EMCs and DMCs

Destination Management Companies: Local Experts

Destination Management Companies (DMCs) typically offer a list of standardized services that cater to common event needs within a specific location. 

As local providers, they leverage their established relationships to create experiences tailored to the environment of your event.

In terms of services, DMCs offer: 

  • Venue selection
  • Activities planning
  • Local tours & excursions
  • Transportation management
  • Cultural integration
  • Restaurant reservations
  • Decor
  • Theming

Geographical Focus

geographical focus

Event Management Companies: Global Reach

Event management companies can plan and execute across multiple destinations around the globe. 

This holistic approach enables EMCs to handle events ranging from roadshows and conferences to product launches and corporate gatherings in different countries and regions.

The best EMCs have local connections that can help in markets they don't necessarily operate in, and their wider global view allows them to apply a larger understanding of events and markets to your event.

person pointing on a world map with pins

Destination Management Companies: Specific Destination

Destination management organizations operate within specific locations. They offer regional expertise and know how to create immersive event experiences. 

Organizing events across the world can pose certain challenges when working with a DMC. While DMCs are great for localized needs, they are usually not the best option when it comes to long-term strategy. It’s worth noting that some DMCs do have a presence in various locations, such as Hello DMC with branches in Arizona, Chicago, Las Vegas, and more.

This is something to consider if you are planning to host your event in different cities annually; you'll likely need to find a new event partner year after year.

Event Size and Complexity

event size and complexity

Event Management Companies: Versatile Event Management

Event management companies offer the best solutions for planning and executing a wide range of corporate events.

EMCs can handle anything from your smaller picnics to large-scale conferences, though they are usually a better option for those mid-to-large and complex projects.

Destination Management Companies: Small to Mid-Sized Gatherings

Destination management companies typically specialize in smaller to mid-sized gatherings in their chosen destination. 

Their expertise is more focused on planning immersive experiences, activities, and decor within a specific destination.

Customization and Personalization

customization and personalization

Event Management Companies: Bigger Picture Approach

EMCs adopt a "bigger picture" approach to event planning. They consider the overall event portfolio and work closely with you to understand your brand, objectives, and long-term vision, plus the other events that you work on and how they relate.

Personalization with EMCs goes beyond aesthetics; EMCs customize the entire event experience strategically for your company. This may include tailored agendas, interactive sessions, and technology-driven solutions to increase attendee engagement.

This deep understanding enables them to design events that align with your goals. 

Destination Management Companies: Destination-Specific Offerings

DMCs can personalize events for you by creating destination-specific activities and experiences. 

They typically offer a list of pre-set services for tours, culinary experiences, and local entertainment that align with the destination’s offerings. 

By incorporating local culture into events, they can also work with you to create activities, decor, and themes that reflect the essence of the destination.

However, this specialization results in limited event scope as their focus is primarily on the specific services of the chosen destination.

Which Type of Event Partner Is Right for Me?

group of attendees networking at a corporate event
Deciding between an Event management company and a DMC depends on your specific event needs, your budget, what you need in a partner, and ultimately what your business goals are. Below are some specific areas to consider when choosing one type of company over another. Pick the event partner that caters to your unique palate.

When Event Management Companies Are Best

It’s best to choose an EMC when you…

  • Seek a strategic approach to events
  • Have complex events or events that change location each year
  • Are planning large corporate conferences
  • Need more than point solutions
  • Want a clear understanding of pricing that is not marked up
  • Want the best suppliers instead of just the best within a market
  • Seek a collaborative, creative partner to help bring your vision to life
  • Want a dedicated project manager to oversee every detail
  • Need to cultivate strong relationships with hotels/ venues 

When Destination Management Companies Are Best

It’s best to choose a DMC when you…

  • Need point solutions for your event, such as choosing decor from a catalog or quick decision-making
  • Have the same event in the same market every year and simply need supplemental support
  • May have a language or cultural barrier and need help bridging a communication gap
  • Are comfortable engaging a different DMC for each location where your event is hosted

comparison chart highlighting differences between Event management companies and DMCs


Choosing the right partner, whether it's a DMC or EMC, depends on the specific goals, scale, and needs of your event. 

DMCs typically focus on specific aspects of event planning related to the destination, such as activities, decor, and local logistics. They may not provide comprehensive services that cover all aspects of global event planning, such as overarching strategy, marketing, and budget management. They can be a great partner for specialized needs in a specific market.

EMCs provide a wide range of services for all aspects of your event, can handle more complex projects, and typically operate in a larger number of markets. This makes them an ideal partner for brands looking for greater support on a larger scale.  

Read more about how your company may need more than just a DMC. 

Plan Your Next Corporate Event with GoGather

When you choose our full-service event management, not only do you gain access to our team of event planning experts, but you also receive:

  • Long-term partnership no matter what city you host your event
  • A deep understanding of your business and your event that can help you grow year-over-year
  • Access to the best vendors worldwide, not just local vendors
  • Greater visibility into every line item on your budget
  • No sneaking in hidden fees via a cost-plus model

Learn more about our corporate event planning services and how we can partner with you to create an unforgettable event experience.


Madison Shepherd

Madison Shepherd is a Marketing Specialist at GoGather. When she's not writing blogs or sending out social media posts, she enjoys hiking, traveling, or reading at one of the many beautiful beaches in San Diego.