DMAI's Event Impact Calculator - San Francisco Travel Association 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 San Francisco Travel Association harnesses the power of economic impact data for its destination and meeting planner business.

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DMAI's Event Impact Calculator - San Francisco Travel Association Case Study

  1. 1. DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator San Francisco Travel Association an Francisco as a travel destination is a city with as many enviable traits as one in the DMO industry can desire. For a relatively young city, San Francisco boasts not only a compact, urban setting with a wealth of history, culture, landmarks and charm, but also great international access, moderate climate and proximity to the great outdoors. It’s no wonder then that San Francisco welcomed 16.9 million visitors in 2013. For a city that has less than 840,000 residents, that’s about 20 tourists for every man, woman and child living in San Francisco. Travel and tourism remains one of the largest private sector industries for San Francisco, accounting for one out of every seven jobs in the city. The meetings and events sector specifically represents about 11.7% of the city’s tourism economy, with the San Francisco Travel Association booking a record 1,150 meetings in 2013, which accounted for about 2 million room nights. That year, the organization also explored the opportunity to further inform their understanding of exactly how meetings and events contributed to different sectors of the local economy and government. The benefits they cited were primarily three fold, as Nicole Halmer, Senior Director of Market Strategy and Research at San Francisco Travel explains. “We wanted to demonstrate the direct and total economic impact of an event and be able to break down spend by category, like lodging, transportation, food and beverage, attractions, retail, et cetera,” said Halmer. “We wanted a tool to demonstrate to local government the tax revenues a particular event might generate, and use S
  2. 2. DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator San Francisco, California | User Case Study In cases where the registration list analysis shows higher numbers of overnight attendees, it demonstrates the compression the event generated above the contracted room block. “ Nicole Halmer, Senior Director of Market Strategy & Research San Francisco Travel Association [the information] as a value-add for our meeting planners who are interested in the total impact of their event.” San Francisco Travel adopted DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator in July 2013. Previously, the organization had used a more straightforward calculation to estimate direct spending based on the number of attendees and room nights; which led to using the same attendee spending per room night and total direct attendee spending for any and all events. While it served to provide a broad estimate of the meetings and events sector, the method was deemed outdated and the organization searched for a suitable replacement. Destination Marketing Association International’s industry standard for understanding the economic impact of meetings and events presented San Francisco Travel with the ability to estimate room night demand, taxes generated, jobs supported, delegate spending and return on investment at present values for a diversity of events of varying sizes, dates and types – from tradeshows to youth amateur sports. After nearly a year of use, Halmer and her colleagues are “very satisfied” with how the Event Impact Calculator has worked for San Francisco Travel and finds more than one application for the tool. “We use the calculator as one of many key parameters to make a decision – mostly to demonstrate the value of events to stakeholders,” Halmer explains. “But also in cases where the registration list analysis shows higher numbers of overnight attendees, it demonstrates the compression the event generated above the contracted room block.” Indeed, with event attendees increasingly turning to accommodations outside of the traditional block of hotel rooms, many destinations like San Francisco are able to estimate and account for these room nights and associated spend, where previously they would have been left on the table. Because the calculator requires important inputs from the destination to drive its estimated economic impact, Halmer collaborates with a diverse team of sales and marketing staff at San Francisco Travel to collect, input and disseminate accurate information for the calculator. Their usual data collection and analysis procedure proceeds as follows: 1. Collect attendee registration lists from meeting planner from their last meeting, requiring city, ZIP code, state, and country code data. 2. Analyze registration list to identify percentage of national and international attendees.
  3. 3. DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator 3. Analyze registration list to identify number of attendees that would drive in for the day. 4. Based on registration list analysis, estimate the total number of overnight attendees. 5. For room block data inputs, use either historical data from a previous event in San Francisco or pick-up data from another city. If San Francisco Travel is running a post-event analysis, Halmer’s team uses audited pick-up reports from housing offices. 6. For ADR inputs, use STR data and compute the total ADR for the rooms contracted at the various hotels. 7. Ask meeting planner to share their hosting costs to the extent that they are comfortable, for example: total rent paid, total food and beverage (at the convention center and hotels), audio visual (at the convention center and hotels), security, internet, and others. 8. Use most recent visitor profile data to determine occupancy per room and modes of transportation. Using this eight-step process, Halmer gathers inputs that significantly drive the Event Impact Calculator’s model – including number of overnight attendees, average room rate and persons per room – with a high degree of confidence. The resulting report includes a multitude of numbers relating to various sectors of the tourism economy, different levels of government tax receipts, and direct and indirect or induced spending. San Francisco Travel currently uses four primary numbers to share with media and through press releases: 1. Direct business sales, 2. Total business sales, 3. Room nights generated, and 4. Total number of attendees. The organization also shares the full report with city government, hotels and meeting planners, thus fulfilling their initial intention of educating their many stakeholders and customers about the impact of meetings and events in their terms. Looking ahead, Halmer hopes to streamline the data collection and analysis process; and establish some baseline ratios after sufficient sampling. “Using the calculator does require analysis up front. Once we have analyzed a large enough sample size of registration lists, we will establish defaults for overnight versus day visitors, for instance,” said Halmer. “We have not yet interfaced the calculator with our CRM, so it’s largely a manual process. I wish it would run automatically in the background every time a new lead is entered. At the moment, it is a separate transaction. I would love to hear from a DMO that uses Ungerboeck as their CRM that has successfully integrated the calculator with an interface.” The Event Impact Calculator has an open application programming interface (API). Currently, iDSS and Simpleview are two CRM solution providers that have written to the interface. DMAI is in discussion with Ungerboeck to develop their interface. For additional information on how to San Francisco, California | User Case Study activate this interface, consult your CRM account manager. •
  4. 4. Nicole joined San Francisco Travel Association in June 2012 as Senior Director of Convention Strategy. Nicole is responsible for developing and updating convention market strategies and convention busi- ness outlook as well as analyzing and providing regular updates on citywide and self-contained group performance including market share and market segments. Prior to joining San Francisco Travel Association, Nicole worked as a Corporate Regional Director of Revenue Management in San Fran- cisco, where she was responsible for responsible for implementing hotel revenue management objectives across her managed portfolio of 27 hotels, ensuring yield management techniques maximize revenues by selecting the most profitable mix of demand for the given capacity both in rooms and food & beverage. Prior to joining the hotel industry in 1999, Nicole conducted research as a molecular biologist at UCSF and the VA Medical Center. About Nicole Halmer Senior Director of Market Strategy & Research San Francisco Travel Association DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator San Francisco, California | User Case Study
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