Need to Partner with DMO’s and Hotels to Better Quantify Economic Impact of an Exhibition Reply

This post written by Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, Executive Director, CEIR

I attended a session at this week’s CMP Conclave in beautiful Spokane, Washington. The Conclave is a unique event open only to those with their Certified Meeting Professional designation. The closing session, Crucial Conversations: Meetings of the Future, was facilitated by Dave Radcliffe, President of the Radcliffe Company. Joining him was Marco Bloemendaal, with Visit Seattle; Cheryl Kilday of Visit Spokane and Christine Shimasaki, CDME, CMP, with EmpowerMINT.com, DMAI.

I had a couple of takeaways from this session. We all know it is important to understand how our events measure up; how do we measure the economic impact of our event when so many of our attendees and exhibitors stay outside of our block? It’s not just the room block and money being spent in the hotel and at the convention center. It also includes all those hospitality events that are taking place off property and the sightseeing that is being done before and after the event. We should take a proactive approach and work more closely with the destination marketing organization (DMO) in determining how the economic impact is important to your organization. How does your event measure up? You need to know for negotiating future years.

Also, we need to take a look at attrition. Attrition is a huge financial exposure for organizations and with the ability to find room rates that are most likely lower than the negotiated group rate, what’s an organizer to do? It’s a fact that in cities with a lot of inventory, there is greater risk of attrition. Organizers do not block as many rooms, and that hurts the organizer’s negotiation ability. We know how many of our attendees and exhibitors will require a room; conversations need to begin with our hotel and DMO partners on how to incent our attendees and exhibitors to stay in the block, and how to count those room nights toward the economic impact of the event and look perhaps at a new model for determining attrition.

What are your thoughts, what strategies are you deploying to determine your show’s value, and how are you managing attrition?

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