How to increase your event's economic impact (and how to measure that!)
Events create community pride and liveability, loyalty and advocacy for a destination, and, importantly, economic injections into a community.
How could your event create a bigger economic impact for your local community?
And how on earth could you measure that impact?
HOW TO CREATE ECONOMIC VALUE
Have more visitors who spend more and stay longer: 3 strategies to work on
Destinations want overnight visitor expenditure, and events are a hook to attract more visitors.
WHAT ARE YOUR EVENT OBJECTIVES?
Chasing more and more visitors or chasing yield: i.e. attracting those who spend more and stay longer? This depends on the where your event is in its lifecycle.
DELIVERING AN INCREDIBLE EVENT EXPERIENCE
When an event delivers a great experience, and a strong connection is created between the destination and the event, this creates attendee loyalty and advocacy which drives repeat visitation (i.e. returning with friends in tow!)
DestinationThink! summed this up beautifully in this recent succinct article:
With your visitors doing all your destination and event marketing with what they share on social media, your job is to create an amazing experience so your visitors will say great things about you!
Focus on visitor services and adding to your visitors' experiences!
An event has to provide quality transport, accessibility, visitor services, cleanliness, food, facilities, wifi, signage and amenities, and then provide quality experiential elements: entertainment, innovation, unique food experiences, enhanced technology…
It's these experiential elements that provide the emotional connection for visitors.
Creating emotional experiences leads to loyalty which leads to advocacy.
Create opportunities for visitors to feel connected to family/friends/locals, to feel entertained/excited/inspired/special and for escapism.
Word of mouth and social media are the top ways people hear about events so advocacy and loyalty is key!
This is also true for the destination: provide quality visitor services, accessibility, wifi, info, etc and quality experiential elements: attractions, restaurants, promotion of natural assets so visitors can experience escapism, inspiration, connection, relaxation, excitement, engagement, education…
And create local advocates for your event because visitor connection with the local community is critical - visitors want to live like locals and feel connected!
Deliver an event and destination experience.
Ensure you are working on improving visitor services.
CREATING ECONOMIC VALUE
Use unique elements from your region in your event
Communicate with attendees about what else they can do while they are in the region
Understand your visitors and therefore what will value-add to their experience
Package with local attractions and retailers to increase expenditure
Motivate locals to invite their friends and family to stay for the event
The net event organiser impact economically on the community can be improved by purchasing goods and services from the economy, and
growing income from out of region.
Work together in partnerships to build the event brand and the destination brand.
Tourism is really everyone’s business because events do a great job of dispersing their export income across many kinds of local businesses.
Increasing your event’s local economic impact is a simple equation:
Buy more locally
Increase income from out-of-region
MEASURING ECONOMIC IMPACT
WHAT DOES THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF AN EVENT MEASURE?
Only new money coming into the destination. It does not include spending by locals.
MEASURING THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF YOUR EVENT HELPS WITH
government funding applications and acquittals, and securing business sponsorship
benchmarking the event to compare with other years
increasing the profile of the event which supports working with media and on social media
community pride and community partnerships
partnerships with local businesses
EVENTS SHOULD MEASURE
Their primary purpose for visiting the region
Length of stay
Expenditure in the community
Attendance: total attendances and total number of attendees
Event organiser income and expenditure
HOW TO RESEARCH
This depends on your budget:
Survey your visitors, including when you sell tickets (e.g. entering residence postcode is required)
Ask retailers in town to provide statistics
Engage an outside organisation to report
THE TOP MISTAKES EVENTS MAKE IN GATHERING DATA
using total attendance instead of number of individual attendees
guesstimating attendance (poorly)
not asking if the event was the reason the attendee visited the region
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR VISITOR SURVEY
Visitor origins (Postcode and state of residence)
Was your event their primary purpose for visiting the region? (If not, did they extend their stay to attend the event?)
Length of stay (Daytripper or overnight stays – how many nights in region and how many nights in the state on that trip)
Expenditure (On each of these: food, tickets, transport, retail, accommodation, souvenirs, attractions, incidentals. This helps identify opportunities and possible partnerships)
The number of total attendances and total attendees (E.g. one attendee could attend the event on two days = a total of two attendances)
(See Glenn's slides for his suggestions on how to frame these questions in your survey.)
HOW TO ESTIMATE ATTENDANCE
If you have a ticketed event or a main entry where you can use a counter to count attendees, your attendance count will be accurate.
If you have a free event with no entry points, or multiple venues, you may need to estimate attendance.
NOTE: Many event committees and emergency services and media overestimate attendance significantly (in our experience often by a factor of 10!)
HOW TO BE MORE ACCURATE
Density counts (number of people in counted in e.g. 20 m2 x total event site m2)
Location tracking (number of mobile phones in area + asking in survey if attendees had a mobile phone, then figuring out total attendance based on what percentage of attendees had a phone with them)
Product consumption method (how many of x products (e.g. cokes) were sold and asking in survey if attendees had bought x product/s)
Counts from aerial photos
Give wristbands to every attendee – green for local, blue for intrastate, red for interstate – how many given out = attendance
For multiple day free events, conduct a survey to determine how many days on average individuals attended
OTHER INCOME AND EXPENDITURE TO CONSIDER FOR EVENT ECONOMIC IMPACT
Competitor, exhibitor, meida and participant expenditure
Event organiser expenditure (e.g. infrastructure, advertising, merchandise)
Event organiser income (e.g. sponsorship, grants, ticket sales)
SET EVENT KPIS
Visitor origins – number of intrastate, interstate and overseas attendees
Number of visitor nights
Overnight visitor expenditure
Economic output (inputs:outputs)
What success with increasing your event's economic impact or measuring it would you share with other event committees?