Communicating Event Value Beyond Heads in Beds

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<span>Communicating Event Value Beyond Heads in Beds</span>
Bottom Line:

Having used the calculator just shy of a year, we are just beginning to realize its full potential. Our learning experience is still on the upward trajectory, but we are so excited to lean in and use the calculator beyond our initial intended purpose.

About the Destination

Stretching from the central Oregon Coast to the towering Cascade Mountains, anchored by Eugene and Springfield in the South Willamette Valley, this region is a place of happy contrasts. Here a spirited athletic culture is thriving alongside the laid-back pace of river recreation. You'll find artists, innovators and nature seekers enjoying iconic and hidden places to sip a beer, explore history, bike the riverfront or hike to epic views. Get to know the many towns that call this place home, each rooted in their own distinct sense of place. 

Destination Profile

Population size: 380,000 in Eugene, Cascades & Coast - Travel Lane County.

Destination Budget Size: 3.75 million

Visit our website to learn more. 

Communicating Event Value Beyond Heads in Beds

For eons, CVBs and DMOs have used the term heads in beds to ascribe the value of an event in basic terms — the number of hotel room nights generated by the event. While this is still a critical factor in determining the value of an event, it stops short of telling the whole story of an event’s economic impact.  

Destinations International’s Event Impact Calculator (EIC) is helping to change the narrative and free event professionals from unruly spreadsheets with outdated functions and values that attempt to calculate the real value an event brings to a community or region.

After customization with destination-specific data, the EIC provides a complete report on all facets of economic impact, including lodging, transportation, food and beverage, retail, recreation, space rental and business services.  

Valuing the BIG One

Eugene, known across the globe as TrackTown USA, is a mid-sized market with a giant-sized sports community. In summer of 2022, one of the largest track and field events in the world was set to bring tens of thousands of visitors to the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. The World Athletics Championships would be the largest event ever hosted in the state of Oregon and telling the story of the event’s economic impact with confidence was imperative.

The investment in the EIC sports module was initially made to help determine the estimated economic impact value of the event on the county, to correlate pre-bid, third-party estimates, and to help substantiate the investment in bringing the international event to Eugene and the United States for the first time. After the event, it helped tell the story of the event’s impact on the county to residents, stakeholders, and media prior to receiving the final overall economic impact report from Nielsen Sports.

Advocating for Facility Development

The summer of 2022 brought a dozen elite track and field events to TrackTown. The EIC was used to provide a summary of the economic impact outdoor track and field had on the destination and is helping the Sports Commission advocate for a new indoor sports facility that will include an indoor track.

Additional sports-specific summary reports are being developed to show the overall economic impact each sport provides to the region to help advocate for new facilities, facility improvements and infrastructure projects. 

Evaluating Conventions  

The Meetings module was also adopted and is used to offer preliminary estimated economic impact (EEI) reports to meeting planners and event organizers so they can understand the value their event will bring to the destination. Early EIC reports also help to evaluate if events qualify for incentives or sponsorships. Post-event EIC reports often provide a more accurate impact estimate and are used to understand trends in sales and hotel rates along with tracking growth of recurring events.

True Value

Perhaps, one of the most important things that the EIC provides is a way to confidently communicate the value of events in the region to help inform residents and stakeholders about the value sports tourism and conventions bring to the region. For example, the number of people put to work in the community and the direct sales to local businesses.

Gone are the days of valuing events just using the number of hotel room nights an event generates. Having a standardized measurement tool that includes all facets of economic impact an event generates and that provides outcomes that can be trusted is priceless. The EIC is one of those tools that we wonder how we ever lived without in this industry. 

About The Author

Juanita Metzler, CMP, CGMP, SEPC

Senior Director, Conventions, Eugene, Cascades & Coast

Juanita leads the Conventions team and has been with Eugene, Cascades & Coast for 15 years and in hospitality/tourism for over 25 years. She holds a degree in Managerial Leadership from Bushnell University and has also obtained CMP, CGMP and SEPC credentials. Juanita is passionate about connecting people and recently named one of the Smart Women in Meetings by Smart Meetings Magazine.

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About The Author

J.B. Carney

Senior Director, Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission

J.B. oversees the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission, focusing on growing the local sports event economy through excellent sales and services programs and effective target marketing. J.B.'s professional experience as a general manager and director of sales at a variety of hotel properties dates to 2005. He holds a bachelor's degree and a master’s degree from Oklahoma State University.  

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