Does Your Festival or Event Make Cent$


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Presentation given during the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives' Annual Conference in College Station, TX on June 23, 2014.

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  • Once you know the value of the event, it’s easy to prove that the return was worth the expense.
  • Sponsors will be more inclined to return next year and new sponsors can be attracted with the kind of data you get from an economic impact analysis. Sponsors will know not only how much money is being spent at your event, they will also learn:
    some demographic information like where the attendees live;
    product and venue information like what specific activities the attendees liked or wanted to improve upon;
    what media outlet they heard about the event from; and
    what new activities they would like to see at next year’s event.
  • Now that you have some data, you know what areas need to be improved upon in future events. Without benchmarking, you’ve got no way to know if you’re meeting your goals.
  • In many towns, it’s not just one organization that puts on the event – it’s typically a partnership between 2 or more sponsoring entities. Many of these organizations will continue to participate because of community pride or just because it’s the right thing to do. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could show them the value of their participation?
  • With the data, you now know what the people want … what they’ll spend their money on … what will bring them back next year. When additional funding is available, you’ll know exactly where to spend it. Attendees may have told you that you need more children’s activities. The data will prove it and you can request the funding to add that kids’ area with confidence.
  • The same type of information that is valuable to sponsors should also be valuable to you. Use an economic impact analysis as an opportunity to get to know your attendees a little better. This is some actual data from a study I did recently in Round Rock. During a downtown event, we asked local attendees how often they came to downtown and these were the results. With this and a few other questions, the City now has a better understanding of how and why locals patronize downtown and downtown businesses.
  • The economic impact comes ONLY from spending generated by out of town attendees at your event. Otherwise that money comes from locals and would have been spent elsewhere in your community. There are other studies you can do to get data from local event attendees. Local spending data CAN help you determine your ROI.
    Doing an EIA will take man-power. You’ll need volunteers to help with data collection. It will also take time and planning. If none of these are available to you, an EIA is not right for you.
    If you’re only interested in getting data from local attendees, you do not need an EIA.
  • We’re going to use a fictitious event to illustrate the three methods of conducting an EIA. Each method has varying degrees of complexity and accuracy. Each method also has its strengths and flaws, and only local leaders and event organizers can decide which method will work best for them.
  • Method 1 is the easiest and fastest way to produce an EIA. No surveying is required. However, it is also the least accurate. 
  • The average per person per day spending accounts for spending on categories like lodging, retail shopping, dining, visiting attractions, and all the typical activities people would participate on during a trip – whether for business or leisure purposes. But it is an *average* of all the spending that takes place across the Prairies and Lakes region, and it is not specific to College Station.
  • There is also a per person per day spending figure for the College Station-Bryan MSA.
  • This is just an estimate of the actual impact. This method assumes that every single participant spent $105.70, when in reality, some may have spent nothing. This method also doesn’t account for spectator spending, which could effect the result.
  • Method 2 is still relatively easy to do, but does require a little more work. Surveying is still not required, but there is some primary data collection. The accuracy is improved over Method 1. You also have to be comfortable making some assumptions.

     Credit for the development of this method goes to Roger Hanagriff, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University.
  • Again, this is just an estimate. However, this time it’s based on some actual spending that took place in College Station. But making the assumption that the spending on lodging in College Station was the same percentage of lodging in Texas may have under-estimated your impact. Your hotels may have been full and lodging may have represented a higher percentage than 16.8% for this event.
  • Or maybe you want some professional help. Wait, not THAT kind of professional help …
  • Accuracy. EIAs done by a professional will be much more accurate. They are based on actual spending data and not generalized estimates. That being said, they are still an inexact science. They will be based on actual attending spending data and should use a model to determine the impact that represents your local economy.
  • You can avoid the perception of the fox watching the hen house by using an unbiased 3rd party to conduct the study and present the results. Not to mix metaphors, but this eliminates the ability for critics to say that you’re cooking the books.
  • Credibility. It’s as if you put the Good Housekeeping seal of approval on the project. You’re hiring a professional to do your study. This is what they do. They are experienced in conducting EIAs, and their results will be credible.
  • Method 3 is hiring a professional. Every professional’s process will vary slightly, but there are a few commonalties that you should look for. These are based on primary data – or surveys – and will provide results based on your local economy.
  • But they can’t do any of this in a vacuum. They will need your input during every phase of the project.
  • Other spending categories can be added:
    Specific retail categories (boutiques, sporting goods, craft vendors, etc.)
    Food vendors

    Other questions can be added to find out more about your attendees and what they liked or didn’t like about your event.
    favorite/least favorite activity
    how did you hear?
    first time attendee or repeat customer?
    where did you stay?
    what would you add?
  • Require survey volunteers to approach every Nth person to ensure that any festival attendee has an equal chance to be surveyed. This also eliminates surveying bias on the part of the volunteers. Once you know how many people to sample, how many volunteers are available, and how many hours the volunteers will work, you can determine the sampling interval (e.g., every 4th, 7th, 10th person, etc.).

    Sample size estimator developed by John Crompton, PhD from Texas A&M University.
  • Visitor counts = Have volunteers stationed at the major points of entry. Every hour, have them count every person they see for 15 minutes. 15 minutes represents 25% of the visitor count for that hour. The counts can then be extrapolated to produce the total attendance.

    Traffic counts = Counting the number of cars and an average number of people per vehicle.

    High vantage point = Use a tall building, etc. where most of the event can be seen. Then count visitors using a grid overlay of the event at either a peak attendance time or at scheduled intervals throughout the day.

    Tag and recapture = Distribute buttons or stickers to a randomly selected group of attenedees for them to wear prominently during the event. When the crowd reaches a maximum size, volunteers can count “tagged” and untagged attendees within a defined boundary. Then use a formula to calculate total event attendance.

    Aerial photography = Similar to a high vantage point, but from an airplane. Schedule fly-overs for a peak attendance time or at intervals and apply the grid system to count.
  • Does Your Festival or Event Make Cent$

    1. 1. Does Your Festival or Event Make Cent$? How To Conduct an Economic Impact Analysis (… and why you should) Photo: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    2. 2. Or … Does This Festival Make My Budget Look Big?
    3. 3. Agenda Benefits of conducting an EIA Is an EIA right for your event? DIY Methods of conducting an EIA Method 1 Method 2 When to seek professional help Method 3 – Hire professional help EIA Case Study Q&A
    4. 4. Get these slides here:
    5. 5. What Is Economic Impact? New money injected into a host economy by people from outside the host economy.
    6. 6. 7 Benefits of Conducting an EIA on Your Event
    7. 7. #1 Justifies Financial Support Photo: Michael @ NW Lens on Flickr Anytown City Council
    8. 8. #2 Proves Return on Investment Photo: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    9. 9. #3 Attracts Sponsorships Photo: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    10. 10. #4 Allows for Benchmarking Photo: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    11. 11. #5 Demonstrates Benefit to Partners Photo: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    12. 12. #6 Paves the Way for Expansion Photo: AlBakker on Flickr
    13. 13. #7 Provides Market Research 12% 13% 19% 20% 28% 4% How often do you come downtown? daily 2-3 times/week once/week 2-3 times/month once/month never before today
    14. 14. Is an EIA Right for Your Event?
    15. 15. Don’t Conduct an EIA If … • … your event draws mainly locals • … you lack the resources • … economic impact data is not needed
    16. 16. EIA Example: Run Like the Wind Relay
    17. 17. Run Like the Wind Relay Photo: Ella Baker Center on Flickr • Run Like the Wind Relay is held in College Station • College Station is located in the Prairies and Lakes region • There are 1,700 race participants
    18. 18. DIY Method 1
    19. 19. Use Method 1 If … … you only need a very basic and generalized estimate … you have little time to prepare and organize prior to the event ... there are few volunteers available to survey event attendees … no one is available for data entry and analysis … you have a good estimate of the number of event attendees
    20. 20. Method 1 Process
    21. 21. Method 1 Process
    22. 22. • Big Bend • Gulf Coast • Hill Country • Panhandle Plains • Piney Woods • Prairies and Lakes • South Texas Plains Texas Travel Regions
    23. 23. Calculating the Economic Impact 1,700 race participants * $105.70 pppd spending = $179,690 $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ The economic impact of the Run Like the Wind Relay was $179,690.
    24. 24. DIY Method 2
    25. 25. Use Method 2 If … … you have little time to prepare and organize prior to the event … you can secure the cooperation of local hotels, motels, and B&Bs .. there are few volunteers available to survey event attendees … someone is available to contact the lodging places before and after the event and to record the data … you have a good estimate of the number of event attendees
    26. 26. Method 2 Process • Uses algebra and actual hotel receipts to estimate the total impact • Solves an equation to determine unknown quantities • Hotel receipts are the known quantities • Hotel receipts are a percentage of total travel expenses Photo: llamnudds on Flickr
    27. 27. Method 2 Process
    28. 28. Method 2 Process $9,599 ($ lodging) ÷ $57,253 ($ destination) = .1676 or 16.8% 16.8% of all expenditures in Texas are for lodging.
    29. 29. Method 2 Process Make this assumption: If 16.8% of all expenditures on trips in Texas are for lodging, then 16.8% of all expenditures on trips in College Station are also for lodging.
    30. 30. Method 2 Process • Before the event • Step 1: Request that hotels ask guests if they are in town for the Run Like the Wind Relay • After the event • Step 2: Call each hotel and request the “rack rate” charged during the event. Also ask for the number of rooms sold and number of nights stayed specifically for the Run Like the Wind Relay. • Step 3: Multiply the number of rooms by the rate for each property and total.
    31. 31. Method 2 Process The economic impact of the Run Like the Wind Relay was $24,761.90 Hotel # of Rooms Sold for Event # of Nights Stayed for Event Rack Rate Revenue Hotel 1 4 1 $65 $280 3 2 $65 $390 Hotel 2 10 1 $85 $850 Hotel 3 30 1 $60 $1,800 7 2 $60 $840 TOTALS 51 7 $4,160 $4,160 ÷ .168 = $24,761.90 (Direct Impact of the Run Like the Wind Relay)
    32. 32. Photo: andyde on Flickr When To Seek Professional Help
    33. 33. Photo: modenadude on Flickr Accuracy
    34. 34. Avoid This
    35. 35. Credibility
    36. 36. Method 3
    37. 37. Use Method 3 If … … you need the most accurate data possible … there is ample time available to plan and organize prior to the event .. there are plenty of volunteers available to survey event attendees … you have a good estimate of the number of event attendees
    38. 38. Consultant Responsibilities • Design the survey • Estimate sample size needed • Develop a sampling plan and surveying schedule • Guide in volunteer selection and provide training • Determine/estimate event attendance • Collect and analyze the data • Produce a report detailing the results
    39. 39. You’ll Need a Questionnaire
    40. 40. You’ll Need a Questionnaire • Zip code • Number in the traveling party • Number of days spent in your town • Amount (or estimated amount) spent in the following categories: – Dining – Lodging – Shopping – Gas – Attractions/entertainment – Other expenses
    41. 41. Sampling • Survey – or sample – throughout the entire event. • This is the number of completed non-local surveys you need. • Local survey responses DO NOT contribute to the economic impact.
    42. 42. Estimating Attendance • Guest book • Polling • Visitor counts • Traffic counts and average number of people per vehicle • Interval counts from a high vantage point or in quadrants • Tag and recapture • Aerial photography
    43. 43. Analysis • Spending from the surveyed attendees is applied to the entire population (all non-local attendees) • Data is analyzed with economic modeling software • The software produces the impacts: • Total impact • Direct impact • Indirect and induced impacts • Number of FTEs created • FTE income • Tax impacts (sometimes)
    44. 44. Where To Find Help Photo: Theo La Photo • Colleges and universities • Councils of Government (COGs) • Economic Development Corporations • Consultants
    45. 45. EIA Case Study
    46. 46. Red Poppy Festival – Georgetown, TX April 26-27, 2014 45,000 attendees Held in downtown Georgetown Live music (Bellamy Brothers) Craft and artisan vendors Kids’ area Car show
    47. 47. Methodology • 20 volunteers • Collected Emails from attendees via intercept surveys and convenience samples • Surveyed Friday through Saturday evening • Offered an iPad as an incentive • 45,000 people attended • Used SurveyMonkey to send the survey – 1 Email to 580 attendees, and 3 reminders to non- respondents • Determined per person per day spending for each spending category • Used IMPLAN to calculate the impacts
    48. 48. Impacts Spending Category $ Impact Total Economic Impact $2,510,678 Food & Beverage Impact $1,426,154 Lodging Impact $419,064 Retail Impact $644,396 Tourist Attraction Impact $21,063
    49. 49. Can I Help? Call Me!
    50. 50. Follow Me @pagetx Sarah Page, Principal Sarah T. Page Consulting, LLC 512.914.8873
    51. 51. Thank You! Questions?