Transparency in Contracting: Navigating the Destination Booking Agreement (DBA)

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The introduction of the Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) toolkit has made it increasingly important for Business Events Strategists to be well-informed about industry contracting trends, as destination organizations have focused on establishing client agreements that enable them to effectively manage and represent the product they offer and advocate for the event organizers and destination. This session will provide valuable insights from industry experts to support event strategists and destinations as they partner to maximize risk mitigation, promote effective decision-making, and negotiate favorable terms for future events. Join us for this informative session to stay ahead of the curve in the industry.

Learning Objectives:
• Acquire a deeper understanding of the emerging trends and evolving practices in contracting for city-wide events.
• Identify potential issues that may arise when negotiating contracts and how to avoid them by utilizing the key elements of Destination Booking Agreements (DBAs).
• Develop strategies to co-create favorable terms and conditions in DBAs to benefit both event organizers and destination organizations.

Course Information

Estimated Time: 56 min

CMP Credit Hours:

Course Domains:

Kavin Schieferdecker

Kavin Schieferdecker is the chief sales officer at the San Diego Tourism Authority, where he oversees long-term sales for the San Diego Convention Center, as well as hotel meetings and convention services. Schieferdecker leads a 30-person team responsible for the destination sales and client experience for San Diego’s meetings and conventions economy, which generates $3.5 billion in annual visitor spending and $6 billion in economic impact. Key stakeholders include hotels in San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District and the San Diego Convention Center Corporation.

Kavin’s experience includes a long and distinguished career in sales, with more than 25 years primarily at Marriott International and Hilton. He most recently served as senior vice president of convention sales at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Prior to his tenure at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Schieferdecker worked for the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, first as director of sales and then as director of sales and marketing, overseeing a team of 53 and a $12 million budget. He also served as the sales and marketing leader at hotels outside Boston and in Vancouver, B.C., and as director of hotel sales at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk hotels. Prior to that, he served as director of national accounts at the then-Marriott Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage.

Schieferdecker serves on the advisory board of Sports San Diego and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s advisory committee. Previously, he served on the board of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, as well as on Destinations International’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is a part of its Large Destinations Sales Leaders group. He also has been a volunteer coach for both youth basketball and baseball.

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Heather Neale

Heather Neale is the Managing Director of Sales at Destination Toronto, where she leads a sales team of 10 Toronto-based staff, and 4 in-market sales staff, responsible for delivering group sales bookings for Toronto consisting of meetings & conventions from regions in the US, Canada and internationally. Key stakeholders include Toronto hotels, and two key venue partners, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and Exhibition Place, home to the Enercare Centre & Beanfield Centre.  

Heather has served in this leadership role for Destination Toronto for over 4 years, following a lengthy  career of 22 years for GES. Throughout her years at GES Heather led both the Account Management teams with a focus on event production, operating income, and driving service excellence. Followed by over 10 years leading the Toronto-based exhibition sales team with top line revenue goals ranging from $23 million to over $30 million, that were over-achieved each year during Heathers tenure.  

Heather participates in Destinations International’s Sales & Services committee and is a part of its Large Destinations Sales Leaders group. Heather is a wife & mom to three kids (identical twin boys & daughter), and volunteers at both her children’s school, and in support of their hockey & rugby teams. 

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Joyce Russell

Joyce Russell is the Managing Director of Sales at Visit Indy, overseeing a team of sales professionals responsible for group bookings at the Indiana Convention Center and Indianapolis hotels.   Prior to joining Visit Indy in 2012, Joyce spent 23 years with Westin/Starwood, as a Director of Sales and Marketing. Joyce also currently serves as the Chair of the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum. 

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Melissa Riley

Melissa Riley serves as the Senior Vice President, Convention Sales and Services at Destination DC (DDC), the official convention and tourism organization for the nation’s capital.  

A 25-year veteran of the travel and hospitality industry, Riley leads a team of more than 25 who work in concert to generate a positive economic impact for the District of Columbia.  

Riley sparked DDC’s Connected project. The strategic positioning aligns DDC with the city’s priorities to drive the meetings and events business within growth sectors. The overall positioning includes three pillars: Connected Capital, focused on DC’s strong industries and assets that benefit customers; Connected Campus, focused on unique venues and event space to extend a meeting’s footprint; and Connected Community, a platform for customers to leave a lasting positive impact on Washington, DC.  

She has fostered a strong relationship between DDC and the hotel community, as well as Events DC, to yield the maximum number of events for the city. Additionally, Riley positions DDC as a leading industry voice in meetings-related initiatives around the world, serving as deputy chairperson for the International Congress and Convention Association North America Chapter and Destinations International’s Chair of the Large Market Round Table.  

Riley received a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Virginia Tech.  She now serves on the HTM Advisory Board. Her memberships in the industry include the Professional Convention Management Association, Meeting Professionals International, International Association of Exhibition Executives and Destinations International. Riley is a longtime resident of the District of Columbia and was born and raised in Reston, Virginia. 

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Ellen Shortill

Ellen Shortill is the Senior Director of Convention and Meetings with ASHA and helps lead the team in producing the ASHA Convention and supporting all the other conferences and meetings of the Association with strategic guidance and best in class operational implementation plans.  Ellen joined ASHA just 6 weeks before the 2010 ASHA Convention in Philadelphia and, from that first experience, has introduced and developed many changes to the ASHA Convention, including a dedicated and deliberate focus on attendee experience in all facets of the event. Small but impactful changes, including establishing a first time and effective overflow process for the 18,000-person event with 65 concurrent education sessions from 8 am – 6 pm daily to help wipe out a long standing attendee frustration.   She has helped invigorate her team to create, offer and test creative solutions that have changed the energy of the Convention.  The NetPromoter score for the ASHA Convention hasn’t been below 93% in a decade. Prior to joining ASHA, Ellen led meetings teams for several other scientific and medical non-profit associations, with events, both large and small, including Courtesy Associates, running the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the Fuel Cell Seminar; the Optical Society of America (OSA); the American Geophysical Union (AGU); and, in ancient days, American Association for Higher Education (AAHE).  Ellen originally hails from the seacoast of New Hampshire but has lived in DC for several decades.   The eldest of five children, and the daughter of a nurse and a lawyer, she learned how to negotiate early, argue fine points about many issues likely to kill you or get you in legal trouble, and how to hone bossy big sister skills. Every one of those skills has been well-used and incredibly useful in her career. Ask her to tell you the Dr. Maya Angelou story.  

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