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Proving Convention Center Value: Are You Measuring Your Impact on the Local Community?

If your convention center is one of the many that is at least partly funded by the city or surrounding community, or the venue “owner” is in fact some level of government, then you are familiar with the fact that facility investment decisions are almost always made outside of your walls.

The good news is the events that take place within your walls are not the only source of value for which your convention center can be credited. When events take place in your venue, the entire community benefits. Hotels see increased bookings, restaurants see new patron revenue, shops see incremental retail sales, and more.

The bad news is this can be tough to measure. But, in order to earn the investments you want for your convention center, you need every bit of proof of your venue’s value. How are you providing the complete picture of the value your convention center offers?

Look through your stakeholder’s lenses

Measure the benefits for your community

According to the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC), experience worldwide has shown that the best route to achieving community and government support is through enhancing awareness of the role the convention center plays in community and economic development.

The AIPC claims that economic impact (EI) is one of the most credible and quantifiable values that goes beyond simple “bottom line” measurements of facility performance. EI estimates the real benefits reaped by other parts of the local economy, from direct sales to job creation.

EI is used by many convention centers to demonstrate their worth to their community and government. It has become a very powerful and persuasive tool for facilities looking to substantiate the benefits that can emerge from hosting a major event.

Tools you can use

There are a few ways you can measure EI. Information like duration of the event and number of attendees provides a good idea of the economic impact an event had on the community. To get a deeper view of the impact you will need to conduct more advanced analysis, such as surveys of spending patterns outside the venue while people were at the event.

Consider exploring the EventIMPACTS Toolkit, which provides key guidance and best practices for evaluating the social, economic, environmental and media-related impacts associated with events.

Regardless of the type of information you collect, this data can all be easily stored and reported against using convention center software made just for the event venue industry.

Prove it or lose it

Even though this may seem like a lot of work, in the end it is all worth it. Without the support of the convention center’s surrounding community or government, chances are the center will lose its investments.

How is your convention center proving its value and measuring economic impact? Let me know by posting a comment on LinkedIn or Twitter or emailing me.