What does it take to build a leading destination management company? Just ask ECO DMS founder and CEO Wichita Villacres, because that is exactly what she has done. It’s not an easy thig to do, but ECO DMS has made it look easy, and is now is celebrating 30 years of success in this challenging but rewarding industry. The elements that went into this success include the visionary leadership of our founder, superior customer service, quality vendor partnerships, and industry involvement.
Wichita has called Aruba home since 1982. Back in those days, the idea of Aruba as tourism destination was just an emerging idea, but Wichita could see its potential, not just for individuals looking for a tropical vacation, but for companies looking for new and unique experiences for meetings, incentive travel, conferences, and exhibits – what is now called the MICE travel industry. For five years she looked into this industry and learned everything she could. It was in 1987 that she decided it was time to put everything she had learned into practice and founded her company, ECO DMS. Within the short span of five years, ECO DMS had already made a name for itself and even made history with the first private street party event on One Happy Island. You can read about that historic occasion here.
Wichita quickly became a true force in the MICE travel industry, always championing the cause of the Dutch Caribbean as a destination in all she did. Her tireless dedication saw her company not only grow from just eight employees to nearly two-dozen staff members, but also has garnered her several awards over the years, such as The Simon R. Oduber Recognition of Excellence for her pioneering spirit in the MICE Market presented by the Ministry of Tourism, Transportation & Labour of Aruba and The Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association (AHTA). She was also recently honored with the Kevin Forde Spirit Award. The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) gives this recognition “…each year to a SITE member who exemplifies the traits that Kevin Forde was known and respected for: generosity of time and energy to those in the industry who needed help or advice; representation of the motivational experiences industry within a professional role endorsing one’s destination; volunteering with SITE and giving back to the SITE global community.”
Producing satisfying events and itineraries for companies all around the world is no easy feat, but ECO DMS pours every ounce of their skills, knowledge, and expertise into treating each client with white-glove attention to detail from start to finish. This is how ECO DMS treats each client and approaches each destination management project, as evidenced by other awards the company has won, including two SITE Crystal Awards both for outstanding and unique themed event creations, as well as The IMA Circle of Excellence Award that defines best practices in the development and execution of successful incentive programs, presented by Incentive Marketing Association. Companies who choose ECO DMS as their trusted destination management partner in the Dutch Caribbean are never disappointed! This dedication to our clients is a big part of what has made us a leading destination management company.
As a leading destination management company, ECO DMS is not a tour operator, which means we have to know who are the very best vendors on the islands to work with in order to be able to deliver the kinds of top-notch experiences for which we’ve become known. The array of potential vendors is a constantly shifting landscape that must be monitored closely to ensure each trusted partner continues to meet our rigorous standards. Read more about this core aspect of our business strategy here. Showing our deep gratitude to these companies that work so hard with us is important, which is why we recently hosted three days of appreciation for the vendors we work with, which you can read about here.
In order to stay fully informed of the trends and developments in the MICE industry, ECO DMS maintains very active memberships in a variety of trade associations – a veritable “alphabet soup” of organizations known by their acronyms: ADME, FICP, ISES, MPI, SITE, and SKAL, not to mention global marketing alliances with Ovation, Global DMC Partners, and World of DMCs.
That is the secret recipe for building a leading destination management company. If your company is thinking about what to do for its next major MICE travel program or event, contact us to discover how the Dutch Caribbean and ECO DMS can fulfill all your company’s needs!
Sherman loves writing for JZ Marketing and Communications and its many Aruban clients who, like ECO DMS, are all top-notch businesses on One Happy Island. Home base for Sherman is Keene, New Hampshire USA, where he spends his spare time acting, producing, and directing with several different community theatre groups in the Monadnock Region.