DMAI's Event Impact Calculator - Providence Warwick CVB Case Study


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Following an in-depth study and review of the Event Impact Calculator's use and methodology, DMAI presents a selected case study on how Providence Warwick CVB harnesses the power of economic impact data for its destination and meeting planner business.

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DMAI's Event Impact Calculator - Providence Warwick CVB Case Study

  1. 1. DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau s one of the oldest cities in the United States, Providence, Rhode Island, enjoys a long history of productive industry that eventually made way for a renaissance of higher education, arts and culture, helping the area bill itself as America’s “Creative Capital” and “Intellectual Capital.” With tourism and conventions as an emerging industry, thanks in part to its many culinary accolades and award- winning airport in Warwick, the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau recognized the importance of employing sound business practices to fulfill its mission of “promoting, developing and expanding a united convention, meetings and leisure industry.” Several years ago, PWCVB was one of many destinations that took the initiative and went to great lengths to develop a method to understand the economic impact of the business. Working with a local market researcher and data analyst, the organization created an economic impact formula for the Providence-Warwick area. However, upon the release of DMAI’s new industry standard in late 2011, PWCVB made the decision to switch to the Event Impact Calculator all the same. Kristin McGrath, Vice President of Sales and Services explains. “Even though we had a formula we were using, we selected to use the DMAI calculator, because we believe it is important to join the official industry standard,” McGrath said. “The fact that it is customized with local Providence and Rhode Island data, but uses ten different industry recognized data sources to provide an industry- wide standard, was really appealing to our organization.” A 41
  2. 2. DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator We selected to use the DMAI calculator, because we believe it is important to join the official industry standard. “ Kristin McGrath, Vice President of Sales & Services Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau At the time that PWCVB adopted the calculator in January 2013, the organization was joining a group that was already more than 100 destinations strong, providing the organization with the support and legitimacy they needed to justify the change from their existing model to the Event Impact Calculator. Now with more than 150 destinations using the calculator for meetings and conventions, as well as sporting events from youth amateur to professional level play, McGrath and her team find the calculator increasingly valuable as a recognized standard to help address questions regarding the credibility of the numbers they now report. The PWCVB credibility is a strong asset for the organization, particularly in regards to maintaining a strong business relationship with the local convention center and their customers. “The results become very important to our decision- making process when we are considering offering space at the Rhode Island Convention Center during peak periods. We want to be sure that we are maximizing economic impact for the greater Providence area,” McGrath explained. “We share the results with our partners at the convention center and our clients. It is important that our clients know the impact their convention is having on our local economy. The figure illustrates in dollars and cents just how grateful we are for their partnership and business.” While PWCVB will occasionally report direct business sales numbers for a specific high-profile group, it currently does not use the calculator to track metrics reported to its Board of Directors. However, educating its Board and developing buy in from key stakeholders have still been an important part of PWCVB’s adoption process for the calculator. “We have worked to ensure our Board of Directors has an understanding of the calculator,” said McGrath. “We presented the calculator to all of our key stakeholders, even including members of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority Board of Directors.” As a DMO tool, the sales team has applied the calculator as a means to standardize how they qualify business to the area. When an individual sales manager obtains a RFP, they collect the appropriate data and are responsible for inputting the information and running the initial calculation. The calculator’s results are particularly helpful when determining whether or not offering special incentives or concessions to secure business is appropriate for the DMO. Ultimately, the results are reviewed and double-checked by the Vice President of Sales and Services, and any data released to the press must be reviewed by the President & CEO. As McGrath and her team continue to incorporate the calculator into their business process, she is most interested in understanding how DMO sales professionals have used the Event Impact Calculator to establish goals and incentives. • Providence, Rhode Island | User Case Study 42
  3. 3. DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator Providence, Rhode Island | User Case Study Kristin McGrath joined the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau in September of 2005 as a national sales manager working with clients based in the Washington, DC area. Since then she has been promoted to Director of Sales and in 2011 she became Vice President of Sales & Services. She currently leads a team of nine convention sales and services professionals in support of the agency’s mission: helping to create vibrant growth for the local economy by identifying, securing and servicing meetings and conventions for the Rhode Island Convention Center and surrounding communities. About Kristin McGrath Vice President of Sales & Services Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau 43