The Power of Knowing What Your Event Is Worth

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Measuring the economic value of meetings, conventions and trade shows is about to get a lot easier and more comprehensive, thanks to the new DMAI Event Impact Calculator. Created by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company, this state-of-the-art online tool was designed to provide CVBs exclusively with a more credible and destination-specific method for understanding and quantifying the impact of face-to-face events on their destinations. Due to go live Sept. 29, the calculator has so far been adopted by 67 CVBs across the U.S.

Previously the tools haven’t been very sophisticated but thankfully, there’s now one that’s location-specific and customizable. This is the first time that people are utilizing a tool of this level as well as one that uses numerous data sources. This will become the new standard for the way the impact of events is measured in our industry, at the local level.

Not all meetings are created equal, so CVBs can use the tool to hone in on one particular event and calculate the total revenue and taxes it will or has brought to the destination, as well as measure and compare different events to each other to identify the highest yielding opportunities. Once data is entered into the system, including the attendance, date, duration, event type, occupancy percentage and market segment, the calculator uses eight different sources of industry data to compile a complete event impact analysis.

In measuring direct expenditures, local taxes generated, number of jobs supported, employee wages, total return on investment and indirect economic impact of an event, the calculator takes into consideration the differences in per diem costs per city, including the average costs for meals, hotel and tax rates and impact multipliers unique to each destination.

Every meeting has a significant economic impact on the destination, and shouldn’t we educate our stakeholders and politicos about the value of that? The value of meetings is a story that needs to be told. At a grassroots level, all of us have a responsibility to tell our local officials about the value of meetings and what it does for the local economy. Meeting planners have a role in that too!

So besides making life a bit easier for CVBs, how does this exciting new tool benefit those who actually bring business to their destinations? According to Robert Donovan, vice president of meetings and travel services for the American Hospital Association, it all comes down to a simple adage: knowledge is power.

“Knowing the value of your business is really important because it helps you think through the value proposition,” said Donovan. “If you think that your meeting is worth $100,000 and you find out it’s worth $1.6 million that makes a big difference (in negotiating power). We’re all about knowing what our volume is, how much business we do and what our business is worth.”

Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki, CDME, CMP, joined Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) in June 2009, Ms. Shimasaki brings over 16 years of destination marketing experience to her role. In her current role, Christine leads two major initiatives for the industry, including the meeting planners web portal and historical database, and the new DMAI event impact calculator.


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