DMAI's Event Impact Calculator - Visit Cabarrus 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 Visit Cabarrus harnesses the power of economic impact data for its destination and meeting planner business.

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DMAI's Event Impact Calculator - Visit Cabarrus Case Study

  1. 1. DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau s a non-membership DMO, Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau placed significant importance on being a resource for all hospitality and tourism partners in Cabarrus County. It was therefore always critical that all its stakeholders, from the local residents to business owners to elected officials, understood how the organization was contributing to and positively impacting the area. With championship racing built into the DNA of the community, travel and tourism figures highly in Cabarrus County’s economic fabric, generating more than $363 million in visitor spend annually, $77 million of which benefit the payroll of close to 4,000 people. Travel also contributes $26.6 million in state and local taxes, thereby saving each household over $400 year. Communicating such value to a whole community of stakeholders required significantly reliable and efficient means of culling and reporting the information consistently. John Mills, Executive Vice President of Cabarrus County CVB shares their organization’s needs. “First, we needed a calculation method that would value total economic impact more efficiently and quickly than our existing model. Prior to adopting the Event Impact Calculator, we mostly calculated only direct impact. The bureau would conduct intercept surveys and determine what the average spend per visitor was for each segment,” Mills said. “We needed a calculator that could better tell the story of the impact of an event on our community, and we needed a trusted source in the industry that could provide A
  2. 2. DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator Cabarrus County, North Carolina | User Case Study The calculator has already become the voice for which we educate our destination on the impact of tourism. “ John Mills, Executive VIce President, Cabarrus County CVB additional support for the method of calculation beyond our own interpretation.” Therefore, electing to adopt the calculator was a straightforward first step for the DMO. The legitimacy of the information and models that the Event Impact Calculator employed convinced the organization that this method would help Mills and his colleagues speak confidently on the impact of their work. “Knowing the work that went into creating the calculator along with the reputation of DMAI and Tourism Economics, we’ve found the calculator has already become the voice for which we educate our destination on the impact of tourism,” said Mills. Getting accustomed to the calculator’s outputs and developing a process for data collection and revision has required Mills and his team to work collaboratively, often cross-checking with actual numbers after events have occurred. Cabarrus County CVB uses the calculator for citywide and its largest events only. The majority of information is collected by the sales and services team from the host site or the event planners. Mills enters the inputs himself and then compares those numbers with room night production numbers and their Smith Travel reports. “Once we feel comfortable with the overnight room production, we look at total attendance and daytrip visitation,” explains Mills. The calculator’s purpose has been to inform the DMO’s communications to their stakeholders. Therefore, the organization does not currently employ the tool for internal decision making when booking business. Mills and his team report jobs supported, taxes generated, direct business sales, as well as total business sales, which includes indirect and induced spending as a result of moneys flowing through the local economy. Most of the results from the calculator are distributed via press releases through the organization’s communications manager. Results are shared with members of their Board of Directors, local media, local elected officials and with various groups that the DMO has been invited to speak. The numbers also live on the organization’s internally managed business site,, which not only shares key statistics about the impact of travel and tourism to the region, but also educates site visitors on the DMO’s ongoing plans and activities. “We are very satisfied with the calculator along with the improvements and features that have been added since it first launched,” Mills concluded, “and sharing the results with our local stakeholders has helped them better understand the importance of tourism in our community and why we actively recruit these meetings and events.” •
  3. 3. Prior to becoming the Executive Vice President of the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau, John Mills served on the organization’s Board of Directors from 2006 to 2008. Prior to joining the Bureau full time in 2008, Mills spent 15 years in retail in Louisi- ana, Texas, and North Carolina. Most recently he was the General Manager for Bass Pro Shops locat- ed at Concord Mills. John earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance at Louisiana Tech Uni- versity. He also received a Human Resource Certificate through the Employers Association based in Charlotte, NC. John is an active member with Destination Mar- DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator Cabarrus County, North Carolina | User Case Study keting Association International (DMAI) and his primary roles at the Bureau include Finance, Human Resources, Research and Operations. Since joining the Bureau John has been instrumental in assisting the Bureau by creating an independent 501(c)6 organization, relocating the offices and visitor center, and guiding the organization to achieve accreditation through DMAI. About John Mills Executive Vice President Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau