Does Your Festival or Event Make Cent$: How To Conduct an Economic Impact Analysis


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Presentation given at the Texas Main Street Program Summer Training in La Grange, TX on June 7, 2013. How to conduct an economic impact analysis on downtown events.

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  • Once you know the value of the event, it’s easy to prove that the investment 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 Piney Woods region, and it is not specific to Nacogdoches.
  • This is just an estimate of the actual impact. This method assumes that every single participant spent $87.30, 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, Professor of Agricultural Business at Sam Houston State University.
  • Found in the “Texas Travel Impacts” section of the report. Currently page 8.
  • Again, this is just an estimate. However, this time it’s based on some actual spending that took place in La Grange.But making the assumption that the spending on lodging in La Grange 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 16.6% 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 BarsOther 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.
  • Does Your Festival or Event Make Cent$: How To Conduct an Economic Impact Analysis

    1. 1. Does Your Festival orEvent Make Cent$?How To Conduct an Economic Impact Analysis (…and why you should)Photo: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    2. 2. 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 see professional helpMethod 3 – Hire a consultantQ&A
    3. 3. Get these slides here:
    4. 4. What Is Economic Impact?New money injectedinto a host economy bypeople from outsidethe host economy.
    5. 5. 7 Benefits ofConducting an EIAon Your Event
    6. 6. #1 Justifies Financial SupportPhoto: Michael @ NW Lens on FlickrAnytown City Council
    7. 7. #2 Proves Return on InvestmentPhoto: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    8. 8. #3 Attracts SponsorshipsPhoto: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    9. 9. #4 Allows for BenchmarkingPhoto: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    10. 10. #5 Demonstrates Benefit to PartnersPhoto: 401(k) 2013 on Flickr
    11. 11. #6 Paves the Way for ExpansionPhoto: AlBakker on Flickr
    12. 12. #7 Provides Market Research12%13%19%20%28%4%How often do you come downtown?daily2-3 times/weekonce/week2-3 times/monthonce/monthnever before today
    13. 13. Is an EIA Right forYour Event?
    14. 14. Don’t Conduct an EIA If …• … your event draws mainly locals• … you lack the resources• … economic impact data is not needed
    15. 15. EIA Example:Run Like the Wind Relay
    16. 16. Run Like the Wind RelayPhoto: Ella Baker Center on Flickr• Run Like the Wind Relay is held in La Grange• La Grange is located in the Prairies and Lakes region• There are 1,700 race participants
    17. 17. DIY Method 1
    18. 18. Use Method 1 If …… you only need a very basic and generalizedestimate… you have little time to prepare and organizeprior to the event... there are few volunteers available to surveyevent attendees… no one is available for data entry and analysis… you have a good estimate of the number ofevent attendees
    19. 19. Method 1 Process
    20. 20. Method 1 Process
    21. 21. • Big Bend• Gulf Coast• Hill Country• Panhandle Plains• Piney Woods• Prairies and Lakes• South Texas PlainsTexas Travel Regions
    22. 22. Calculating the Economic Impact1,700 race participants * $123.30 pppd spending= $209,610$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$The economic impact of the Run Like the WindRelay was $209,610.
    23. 23. DIY Method 2
    24. 24. Use Method 2 If …… you have little time to prepare and organizeprior to the event… you can secure the cooperation of localhotels, motels, and B&Bs.. there are few volunteers available to surveyevent attendees… someone is available to contact the lodgingplaces before and after the event and to recordthe data… you have a good estimate of the number ofevent attendees
    25. 25. Method 2 Process• Uses algebra and actual hotel receipts to estimate thetotal impact• Solves an equation to determine unknown quantities• Hotel receipts are the known quantities• Hotel receipts are a percentage of total travel expensesPhoto: llamnudds on Flickr
    26. 26. Method 2 Process
    27. 27. Method 2 Process$8,722 ($ lodging) ÷ $52,657 ($ destination)= .1656 or 16.6%16.6% of all expenditures in Texas are for lodging.
    28. 28. Method 2 ProcessMake this assumption:If 16.6% of all expenditures on tripsin Texas are for lodging, then 16.6%of all expenditures on trips in LaGrange are also for lodging.
    29. 29. Method 2 Process• Before the event• Step 1: Request that hotels ask guests if they arein town for the Run Like the Wind Relay• After the event• Step 2: Call each hotel and request the “rackrate” charged during the event. Also ask for thenumber of rooms sold and number of nightsstayed specifically for the Run Like the WindRelay.• Step 3: Multiply the number of rooms by the ratefor each property and total.
    30. 30. Method 2 ProcessThe economic impact of the RunLike the Wind Relay was $25,060.
    31. 31. Photo: andyde on FlickrWhen To Seek Professional Help
    32. 32. Photo: modenadude on FlickrAccuracy
    33. 33. Avoid This
    34. 34. Credibility
    35. 35. Method 3
    36. 36. Use Method 3 If …… you need the most accurate data possible… there is ample time available to plan andorganize prior to the event.. there are plenty of volunteers available tosurvey event attendees… you have a good estimate of the number ofevent attendees
    37. 37. Consultant Responsibilities• Design the survey• Estimate sample size needed• Develop a sampling plan and surveying schedule• Guide in volunteer selection and providetraining• Determine/estimate event attendance• Collect and analyze the data• Produce a report detailing the results
    38. 38. You’ll Need a Questionnaire• Zip code• Number in the travelingparty• Number of days spentin your town• Amount (or estimatedamount) spent in thefollowing categories:– Dining– Lodging– Shopping– Gas– Attractions/entertainment– Other expenses
    39. 39. Sampling• Survey – or sample – throughout the entire event.• This is the number of completed non-local surveysyou need.• Local survey responses DO NOT contribute to theeconomic impact.
    40. 40. Analysis• Spending from the surveyed attendees is appliedto the entire population (all non-local attendees)• Data is analyzed with economic modelingsoftware• The software produces the impacts:• Total impact• Direct impact• Indirect and induced impacts• Number of FTEs created• FTE income• Tax impacts (sometimes)
    41. 41. Where To Find HelpPhoto: Theo La Photo• Colleges and universities• Councils of Government (COGs)• Economic Development Corporations• Consultants
    42. 42. Can I Help?Call Me!Photo: .Spartography on Flickr
    43. 43. Follow Page, PrincipalSarah T. Page Consulting, LLChttp://sarahtpage.comsarah@sarahtpage.com512-914-8873
    44. 44. Thank You!Questions?