I had the pleasure to discuss one of my favourite destinations, Paris, with a local and an expert in the field: Pascal Roulland who works for Nacara DMC (=Destination Management Company).
Please Tell Me a Little About Nacara DMC and Yourself.
Nacara is a DMC based in Paris and specialised in the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events) industry. To understand better who we are, let’s start from the beginning. I’ve been working for many years in the DMC business in different parts of France and with a managing role. So I’ve had the chance during all these years to see what the clients were expecting when coming to France… and I also saw what was the lack in the offer.
When I’ve had the opportunity to create Nacara, my aim was to bring a “plus” to the companies coming to France for their events. I quickly set up a team with complementary skills to help me in this task and Nacara was born.
What Are Those “Plusses” You Are Talking About?
Well, actually I’ve often heard 2 recurrent remarks about Paris. First, in the clients’ opinion, Paris is often considered as an expensive city. Second, a lot of professionals travelled plenty of times to Paris and think they know it perfectly well. I can tell you that both remarks are wrong! Paris is not expensive and Paris has always news things to show! This is our job, to get out of the ordinary, to surprise, and at a very competitive price!
So, here is our “plus”. We are always looking for new trends to offer our clients something they don’t even expect at first sight! We are able to find very nice boutique hotels or grand chef restaurants at a very good value for money to surprise them, because it’s new trendy spots in Paris!
So You Think That Paris is a Strategic Destination for MICE?
Paris is a fantastic destination for MICE. It’s one of the most dynamic cities in the world and very concerned by the meetings and events industry. Things evolve permanently, there’s always something new to do! And don’t forget that with only 1 or 2 other capitals in the world, Paris is a fashion-focused city with many fashion shows per year. Paris is also the flagship in France for its gastronomy, its heritage and its culture! One may think that it’s an old-fashioned destination or just good for family trips. But it’s just the opposite! You’ve got the opportunity to surprise your clients or colleagues when choosing Paris as a destination for your event! So, yes, Paris is a strategic destination because it offers this wow effect you are looking for when you are on an event with your team or clients.
Are There Any Pitfalls When Arranging a Meeting in Paris?
Well, after what I explained above, you can easily understand that the pitfall would be to offer common and ordinary activities! But not only. There’s also another aspect to consider. A good DMC should be able to do more. We are not hotel or restaurant sellers. This task is the conclusion of all the job we’ve done beforehand. Firstly, we advise in order to guide our client in the good direction. Then we have to be creative and come up with the idea which will match our clients’ needs. And, finally, we have to negotiate with our partners’ network to have the best tailor-made programme possible. The idea is to organise an event which is not to be found elsewhere, something very specific, very tailor-made and very exclusive.
Can You Give Us Some Examples?
We usually don’t give examples: as this is tailor-made, it wouldn’t be meaningful! The best way to discover it would be to send us a request or have a look at our website! (laughing)
How Will a DMC Facilitate Your Meeting, Incentive, Conference or Event in Paris?
A DMC is an expert of his destination. When you work only for one destination, you know it perfectly well. You have a network and partners, so you can have a wide offer and lot of possibilities of negotiation. If you are also a creative DMC, the mix of all these skills is dynamite!
Do You Mean That You Cannot Be an Expert In Several Destinations?
Yes and no. If you have an office in the destination you represent, then yes. If you don’t, then it’s much more difficult!
It is definitely important to be on the spot, so you know how things evolve and you are able to develop a network. If you are not on the spot, how is it possible? For instance, we are specialised in Paris but we work with other partner agencies in France. When we have a request for other parts of France, like Normandy or French Riviera, we have partners who represent us. They are experts of their own destinations. We work in total transparency and there’s no additional cost for the client. It’s just a matter of being able to recommend the right DMC to the right client.
Are There Instances When a Smaller DMC is Better Than a Huge One?
In my opinion, yes, most of the time! My point of view may not be fully objective but I have my arguments. Our job is to tailor-make and not to be led by procedures and processes. Red-tape is usually found in bigger companies. Being smaller also means more competitive because we don’t have several hierarchical levels to pay. From 1 to 10 employees, we are more flexible and more competitive. But this is only my point of view and a huge DMC may have totally justified and contrary arguments!
Are There Certain Times of the Year When MICE in Paris is Extra Affordable or Expensive?
Paris is always busy with congresses, fairs, holidays, long weekends and so on. So, there’s always an excuse to think it’s not affordable. Actually, there’s always a solution, for any need. I never heard a supplier saying it was extra affordable, though we do find solutions at every moment of the year..
It was a pleasure speaking to someone as knowledgeable and commited as you, Pascal. If you want to get in touch with Pascal, visit Nacara DMC website.
If you are planning a trip to Paris, you might want to check out Air France´s updated First Class Suites as well.