Hosting sporting events (large or small) is an excellent way to attract visitors to your destination. Once you’ve won the bid and the games are played, how do you determine the impact of these events on your community and hotels? What sort of information should you analyze to demonstrate the value of the event to your destination?
At STR, we are all about the hotel data. As a recap from my last blog, the image below shows the numbers we collect and the data we derive from them.
These are occupancy (a function of supply and demand), ADR (average daily rate) and RevPAR (revenue per available room).
For events, daily data is really the most valuable. Looking at these numbers for each day of the week that the event was held will allow you to see how many visitors were drawn in, if hotels were able to command higher room rates as a result of that demand and how much revenue was generated.
Below is a graph that shows the hotel occupancies and rates during the Super Bowl for each of the destinations that hosted from 2009 – 2013. (click to image below to enlarge)
Even without looking at the data, it’s safe to say that an event like the Super Bowl will have a big impact on the hosting destination. These are certainly impressive numbers, but do not, on their own, demonstrate the full effect of the event. That is why we need to take a look at how these destinations performed the year prior to the Super Bowl. (click to image below to enlarge)
While most events probably will not bring in such dramatic increases, positive growth is easy to spot in the data and will help validate efforts by your organization.
Daily data is also useful to spot areas of opportunity. If there aren’t any major events planned during certain months and there is generally a lull in visitation, perhaps efforts can be made to get more events to the destination during those times to attract visitors. You can also look at the data for competitive destinations to determine if your “slow” periods are consistent or if you are losing out on market share.
Daily data during events will also help demonstrate whether visitors are staying merely for the event, or extending their stay for non-related tourism in the destination. Again this is an opportunity to perhaps expand the length room blocks to encourage this behavior. This would be especially prevalent when looking at segmentation data. To learn more about segmentation, see my previous blog.
Visitor Profile Studies
Beyond hotel data, there are other key points to consider when analyzing how an event impacted your destination. One resource you may want to employ is electronic visitor profile studies. These can be used to get further information about who attended the event, how much they spent, how long they stayed, whether or not they are likely to return, etc.
Surveys like these can be completely customized to ensure that the information you need is what you get. These insights can be used to show that the destination marketing organization is effectively driving visitors, or conversely, if there are more opportunities to attract guests.
Now that you have the data, what do you do with it? Many destinations publicize the success of events through press releases, others use it to demonstrate to elected officials that funds are being spent wisely, still others like to assure their hoteliers that they are as informed as possible.
It can also be used to solicit new events. You can use the data when bidding, showing the amount of room supply in the area, the typical amount of availability during the event’s timeframe and prove that you can successfully hold an event of that type or size because you have done it before.
From Start to Finish
Daily performance data can be used during all phases of your event planning process, from bidding to post-event. Having these numbers at your fingertips will allow you to demonstrate the value of your organization and make strategic plans for the years ahead.
For more information about data available to your destination, please contact me at email@example.com.
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