The A-B-Cs of DMCs

By Sari Freeman

Good travel advisors like the ones at CIRE Travel know a certain destination from their own experience, and that they need to have trusted partners on the ground who understand the locals, who know what’s new and exciting, and who are passionate about sharing the very best of their country.

This is where a Destination Management Company comes in.

Passages of Distinction has been working with privately-owned boutique hotels and DMCs for over 25 years. Every member of our Collection is distinctive, bringing a sense of place, authenticity, and passion into every detail of the guest experience. When you work with any of our DMCs, you’ll be treated like a VIP–everything will be taken care of, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

What is a DMC?

Destination Management Companies (DMCs) work with travel advisors to plan and provide transportation services, restaurant reservations, tour guides, activity planning, and arranging accommodations in their country. Your CIRE Travel advisor curates your entire trip, but a DMC is their local partner, their “man on the ground” so to speak, that knows all the hot spots and hidden gems.  A DMC is also a key local contact for travelers should they need assistance in real time (which is often in a different time zone from their travel advisor).

DMCs bring crucial local knowledge and experience that give travel advisors insight when creating seamless, personalized, exciting trips. DMCs are the gatekeepers of knowledge and can provide VIP experiences to travelers from the moment they arrive to the moment they depart. CIRE knows what to look for when working with a great DMC, and below we’ll highlight three crucial qualities a DMC needs to have.

What to Look for in a DMC

1. Strong Relationships

A good DMC will have a solid reputation with both local vendors and travel advisors – such as CIRE! They work with DMCs on a daily basis, and often will work with only the DMCs they regard as the best. This is especially important for international trips to countries where there may be language barriers, cultural differences, and customs that a local DMC knows how to expertly navigate.

2. Aligned Specialties

No two travelers are the same, and when planning a trip, a travel advisor is essential in helping customize experiences to your personal preferences, interests, and goals. A DMC that specializes in what you are looking for in your destination is important in that process.

3. Originality

Visiting another country for the first time can be an incredible experience. The last thing you want it to be is cookie-cutter. A good DMC will work with your travel professional and use creativity when planning your itinerary to ensure you have an authentic, one-of-a-kind experience that feels seamless and flows harmoniously as you travel. DMCs think ten steps ahead —they anticipate and visualize every car transfer, every boat, plane or train ride, and every stop along the way.

We are proud to showcase our collection of DMCs with Passages of Distinction because they exceed in all three areas above. Each one has an enormous amount of expertise and experience in their country, and we can’t wait to dive into what makes each one so unique and special!

Passages of Distinction’s Trusted DMC Partners:

1. And Adventure Holidays (Croatia)

Did you know Croatia is the 8th most-visited country in Europe? And for good reason. With fairytale-like castles, mountain and ocean views, and plenty of islands to explore, Croatia has become a destination for adventure-seekers. Named Conde Nast Traveler’s Top Travel Specialists in 2021 and 2022, AndAdventure, led by Veselka (Vese) Huljić, specializes in building high-end, soft adventure itineraries all over the country. Whether exploring by land or by sea, they deliver experiences that will show your clients exactly why the Dalmatian Coast, Hinterland, and islands of Croatia are their passion. Vese and her team also work on a local level that supports a network of family-owned, women-owned businesses and artisans as part of their philosophy of making travel an authentic, sustainable, and immersive experience.

2. Travel Scope India / WATCH

Travel to India is a rite of passage for many explorers. Travel Scope India aims to show travelers the culture, wildlife, landscapes and local communities that shape this magical country. Their WATCH initiative (Wildlife, Adventure, Tribes, Conservation and Habitat), inspired by their journeys into the wild, sets out to highlight India’s biodiversity and wildlife in a sustainable way. When you book a WATCH journey, not only will you be able to see exotic animals like the spotted leopard, rhinos and elephants, you will naturally be supporting small enterprises and local communities in remote and less-visited tourism destinations.

3. Travel Design Morocco

Morocco has captured the imagination of many travelers, and consistently exceeds their expectations. Whether it be dining in the riads’ charming, tiled courtyards, staying in the exquisite palace hotels, glamping in the expansive desert, or shopping in the colorful bazaars, Morocco evokes a feeling of being in another world. Travel Design, with their years of experience, knows just how to make your dreams into reality. A luxury boutique DMC located in the red city of Marrakech, Travel Design ensures that your trip will be seamless from start to finish and be anything but ordinary.

4. Spain Inside

In 2019, Spain was the second most visited country in the world, which marked the seventh consecutive year of record-beating numbers. Known for its incredible history, culture, architecture, natural beauty, cuisine and so much more, Spain can captivate a traveler no matter how many times they visit. At Spain Inside, their goal is to create “wow” moments throughout your journey. Their itineraries throughout the country are innovative and immersive in the local culture. When you work with their team, you can expect a tailor-made, creative and exciting trip of a lifetime—all with 24/7 support. Their passion for their country shines through their work ethic, their positivity, and their ability to think outside the box.

5. Venice Luxury Services

There are few places in the world that have such an aura of mystery as Venice, Italy. The Floating City is the island capital of both the province of Venezia and the region of Veneto, and its rich history has made it special in many ways. However, few are able to see the real Venice, which is where Venice Luxury Services comes in–aiming to make the most authentic Venice known. Founded by Avivit (Avi) Hagby, Venice Luxury Services is a boutique luxury DMC that has many unique qualities. For one, Avi is the only Jewish guide in Venice and can provide travel experiences that are 100% Kosher! She has a knack for keeping even the most distracted teenagers engaged, knows the best restaurants, has VIP access to hard-to-visit places, and personally joins each and every trip.

If you’d like to learn more about the DMC’s and hotels we work with, check out CIRE’s interview with me, CEO and Founder of Passages of Distinction!

CIRE Travel is a full-service travel agency headquartered in New York, NY.  Our expert team supports clients across the country and around the world.

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