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Maximizing the Economic Impact of Events: Strategies and Case Studies

April 30, 2024 Rachel Selsky, AICP

Maximizing the Economic Impact of EventsAs summer approaches, we are also entering event season, when many communities use the warmer weather and summer school vacation to host parades, festivals, community celebrations, and tournaments. Events are a great way to build community spirit and boost the local economy, both temporarily and continuously.

Camoin Associates has recently completed multiple economic impact analyses demonstrating the impact of tourism-based activities on different communities, including a sports arena, a theater, and a public event space. These facilities use impact analysis to demonstrate their value to a larger audience, including the public, officials, and funding sources.

The article ends with recommendations for economic developers to maximize the impact of events in their region.

Examples of Event Economic Impact Analysis

Cool Insuring Arena

The Cool Insuring Arena is a 4,834-seat multipurpose complex located in downtown Glens Falls, NY. It hosts over 110 events annually and attracts 210,000 people from around the region and country.

Recent investments in the facility make it even more attractive for hosting events of all kinds, including the Puppy Bowl, which is televised on Super Bowl Sunday, local sports competitions, and the Adirondack Thunder hockey team’s home games.

These investments and the annual visits the arena attracts have greatly impacted the regional economy, creating 161 new jobs and generating $6.2 million in earnings each year. We have conducted impact analyses for this venue for several years, and the impact has grown each year. Learn more information about this project here.

Clemens Center

The Clemens Center is a 100-year-old theater in downtown Elmira, NY. The organization is planning a major renovation to enhance programming and expand capacity.

By measuring the economic impact of the construction period and eventual operation, the Clemens Center can document how the project will benefit the local economy through increased visitation and production activity.

Our impact analysis found that upon completion of the renovation project, on-site employment, new visitor spending, and facility rentals associated with the Clemens Center would support an estimated 45 jobs, $2.3 million in associated annual earnings, and $7.3 million in annual sales spent locally in Elmira. See more information about this project here.

Retreat Farm

The Retreat Farm in Brattleboro, VT, proposed renovating an old barn into a wedding and event space. In 2021, we conducted an impact analysis to assist them in preparing a US Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant application for the renovations, which they were awarded.

Our analysis estimated that the renovated North Barn would result in an additional 15,000 new visitors to Windham County and create nearly 40 new jobs in the region.

Last month, I visited the Retreat Farm and saw that work is very much underway, and the barn is slated to open in June. The farm is looking to start collecting impact data starting on opening day to allow for regular tracking and analysis of the actual impact of the facility on the Windham County economy. See more information about this project here.Retreat Farm north barn

How to Get the Greatest Economic Impact from Your Event

As economic development professionals, we are often brought in to create, manage, and promote events. The following are ways to ensure the greatest economic benefit for your community, beyond just the event itself, and set up for successful monitoring and tracking of your event’s impact going forward.

  • Establish a consistent date/schedule: Hold the event on the same weekend of the month each year to make it easy for people to plan on coming year after year. Partner with local hotels, restaurants, and attractions to create special event packages that bundle accommodation, dining, and entertainment options.
  • Simplify logistics: Provide clear information on the website about parking, tickets, what food will be there, how long the event will be, contingency plans in case of bad weather, etc. Offer convenient transportation options, such as shuttles or ride-sharing services, to encourage attendees to explore the surrounding area and spend money locally.
  • Support local vendors/businesses: Set up dedicated areas or marketplaces for local businesses to sell food, merchandise, and other products during your event. Encourage the use of local vendors for everything from the onsite goods/food to logistical support, website design, marketing and promotion, and any other services associated with the event. Encourage attendees to visit local restaurants, hotels, shops, and attractions before and after the event. This can be done through promotional materials, event websites, and mobile apps.
  • Engage and include locals: Involve local residents, businesses, and organizations in the planning and execution of the event to create a sense of ownership, address potential concerns ahead of time, and encourage support for the local economy. Provide incentives for local residents to participate in the event, become advocates, volunteer, and/or create a positive environment for the visitors. No one likes to feel unwelcome or that they are inconveniencing the locals.
  • Track and report on the impact: Establish a plan to collect information so that it is simple to measure and quantify the event’s impact each year. Key data points for this type of analysis include total attendance, where people are coming from, how much money is spent to run the event, and how much revenue is received. Conduct an impact analysis to quantify the direct, indirect, and induced impacts and use this data to promote the event’s value to stakeholders and local communities.

Events are fun but can be a lot of work for those organizing them. Tracking the impact, clearly promoting the event to the public, and getting local residents and business support can make the whole production less stressful, more fulfilling, and even more impactful.

Do you have an event you want to measure its impact on? Reach out to Camoin Associates to learn how we might be able to help.

Download our Economic Impact Analysis White Paper

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