Following on from our recent article on the reasons to use a Destination Management Company, EAS Co-Founder and Director Anne Marie de la Vega Duque shares what makes a good destination management company and some of her career highlights at EAS to date.
Tell us about your background
I’m originally from Minnesota in the USA and moved to Barcelona around 14 years ago.
I started my career working for the premium cosmetics brand Aveda, which provided me with a strong grounding of delivering customers with personalized experiences and exceptional customer service.
When I moved to Barcelona, my first job was working for an international DMC. My role was to develop the new office in Barcelona. I worked, alone, daily “pounding the pavement” generating new sales and after just one year, I had grown the business to 14 employees.
What does a destination management company do?
A destination management company (DMC) is a professional services company that have a team with local knowledge, expertise and resources, working in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation, accommodation and program planning.
Is using a DMC expensive?
Absolutely not, and it can actually be a lot more cost effective for businesses to use one. A DMC is only expensive when a promise is made and not delivered. This is what makes EAS different.
What makes EAS different?
Whilst we do not claim to be the biggest agency, we do pride ourselves on being the best.
Our team have been working on events in Cannes and Barcelona for 12 years and add additional events when we feel we can properly support our customers in those locations.
EAS is different because we truly customize solutions for our customers. We offer a unique product and service with hand selected event locations, hotels, apartments, boats, restaurants and so on.
We pride ourselves on providing timely information. Whenever I discover an option that I know will be suitable for a customer, I get in touch with them right away. Every year, our customers come back to us for the tailored solutions we provide and new customers come on board for the well researched opportunities we offer.
I, along with the rest of the team, work to really understand our guests, know the true specifics of the group, event lead and even individual guests. Everyone likes different things and we work to provide them with a customised experience.
I am proud to say that most of our customers have come from recommendations.
What is a typical day at the office like for you?
A typical day at EAS doesn’t exist! One day we can be quality checking new hotels and re-visiting past properties in the event city to be sure they are still up to par, and the other we’re researching new event locations and restaurants, planning visits, and so on.
We regularly host meet and greets in our event locations for customers over a couple days to review event, entertainment and accommodation options.
Overall we’re a people business and building and maintain relationships is what we do best.
What motivates you?
It’s always lovely when you receive positive feedback from a customer on a job well done. I have received handwritten letters, emails and flowers from many happy customers.
Positive reinforcement is great, however the best motivation is solving issues in the moment which gives a sense of accomplishment and a smile on the customer’s face. No hour is too late, no request is too big or small.
Like in the gym, I am always up for the challenge!
What is your favourite memory at EAS?
It’s very difficult to choose just one memory, as I have so many amazing and special customers that I have developed a strong working relationship with over the years.
What I love most about my job is meeting so many interesting people from across the globe.
One customer in particular continues to work with me each time he changes company and we meet every year in Barcelona, even when he’s in town on holiday!
Tell us about a time that you’ve gone above and beyond for a client
I have two examples that demonstrate the level of service EAS provides.
One of our customers brought 50 people to an event and booked 25 two bedroom apartments, which was an entire building.
One evening, mid-event, the shower in one of the apartments began leaking and had gone through to the apartment below. The guests could not sleep in the apartment because of this. Our team, when notified, went directly to the property to mop and tidy things up. As well, we placed the 4 guests in a 5 star hotel for the night whilst the necessary repair works were completed.
Another customer had booked their accommodation with an unregistered agency and was unable to verify their accommodation. It appeared the agent vanished and would not take calls or return emails.
They had 40 people in the group. I received a call from one evening from the group who had been recommended to reach out to me. At the last moment I was able to coordinate 40 individual rooms in hotels in the city center. Because of the reliability of EAS, they are still a customer to this day.
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