Measuring the Economic Impacts of Events

This is a presentation that I gave at last week’s Tourism Society event – The Tourism Symposium 2014, in Liverpool in the UK. The  symposium was a great event to be a part of, with a set of fascinating speakers and a really strong focus on understanding the contribution of culture and events to tourism and the way that these three sectors can work together to promote economic growth.

Merseyside Maritime Museum - where the symposium was held
Merseyside Maritime Museum – where the symposium was held

My talk was about the problems of measuring the economic impacts of major events.  The picture on my first slide is of what I call the ‘Economic Impacts Machine’.  The point of the EIM is that no-one really knows how it works, or what it is for, but we like what it produces – in this case gold coins and kit-kats.  In my talk I tried to explain that measuring the economic impacts of events is a very imprecise process, in which we make lots of assumptions.  Events and their settings differ so hugely that it is very hard to make meaningful comparisons between them.  Despite this, we can construct an EIM for any event and tourism destination that will be meaningful locally – we just need to be very clear about what we are measuring, why we are measuring it and what we are doing with the results.  The most useful EIMs will be transparent, locally specific and will be tools in creating support for the hosting of events.  You can view the presentation below.  As always, get in touch if you’d like any more information.

Advances in Tourism Economics 2014 – Event motivations and attendee spending

Last week, I presented a paper on event motivations at the 5th Biennial Advances in Tourism Economics conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa campus
The Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa campus

The paper was written by four of us and my co-authors were Denise Hawkes, Emma Abson and Paul Booth.  It was an analysis of the relationship between motivations to attend events that were part of a festival, and attendee expenditure.  We carried out quite an extensive review of the literature, and found that this relationship had not really been explored before; most published research looks at the relationship between motivations and attendee satisfaction, or how to target marketing towards motivational segments.  This is the presentation that I gave at the event:

The abstract for the paper is below, if you’d like to read more, then get in touch.  We’re hoping that the paper will be published in one of the post-conference publications.

This paper explores the impact of motivation factors on spending at a local authority’s programme of cultural events.  This paper takes a closer look at the motivational and demographic data collected as part of the study and, using regression analysis, it identifies large variations in spending by different motivational groups of attendees. Attendees motivated to attend to ‘meet new people’ were found to be the highest spending group by some margin. In addition, the data shows that local audiences are the lowest spenders at these events and that there is no link between previous attendance and event expenditure.   We identify a significant relationship between event attendee motivation and event expenditure, which suggests ways in which these public sector events can be developed and marketed in the future, as local authorities balance the competing priorities of local inclusion and generating local economic impact, through their event programming.

Educating the 21st Century Events Management Graduate

My colleague Charles Bladen and I have just had this paper published in the journal ‘Events Management’.  In the paper, we are argue that Events Management degrees need re-examining, to ensure that they are helping students to develop the kinds of skills and attitudes that employers, and society need.  You can read the abstract below and, if you’d like to read our paper but you don’t have access, please get in touch.

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“This article discusses whether event management can yet be classified as a bona fide profession, how staff working in the industry can be effectively professionalized, and how professional university education programs can be better designed to achieve this end. The article discusses the findings and limitations of some of the existing literature concerning professionalism within event management, and whether event management can yet be wholly described as “a profession” according to conventional definitions. The event management profession and event management education are discussed in terms of improving pedagogy in relation to the requirements of event industry practice. Finally the work concludes that the challenges of educating future event professionals require a rethink of events education so as to develop more reflective practice.”

Responsible Events

I recently gave a talk on ‘Responsible Events’ at the Event Horizons conference in Cornwall.  You can see the presentation below.  ‘Responsibility’ is a new way of thinking about sustainability.  In this presentation, I argue that ‘sustainability’ has been the least successful policy agenda of the last 50 years.  Top-down policies, frameworks and industry standards haven’t delivered sustainable events or helped us to make global development more sustainable in general.

Sustainable-events

The concept of responsible events puts the emphasis on what the events industry is good at: bringing people together, using technology creatively and producing amazing experiences.  Instead of implementing dry management standards to brand events as ‘green’, we should be designing events that help event managers and event customers to share the responsibility to create positive impacts on the environment and society.

The presentation below was originally just made up of images – text has been added.

2 Events Management academic posts at the University of Greenwich

We’ve just advertised two posts in Events Management in our department in the Business Faculty at the University of Greenwich.

Our Greenwich campus
Our Greenwich campus

We’re looking for two lecturers or senior lecturers to join us to help deliver our successful Events Management BA and MA programmes and also to be part of the team launching our new BA Hospitality Management degree.

We have an exciting department, with a large student body studying Marketing, Events, Tourism and PR and a research group with staff carrying out research and publishing in all of these areas.  Our campus is on the gorgeous World Heritage Site in London, just down the road from the O2 and across the river from Canary Wharf.

You can read the full job description and apply here.  The closing date for applications is 28th February 2014.

Event Horizons 2014

I’ll be speaking at the Event Horizons conference in Falmouth, Cornwall, next week. The conference run from 6-7 February and will be bringing together the regional cultural and events sectors to explore two key issues – digital technology and sustainability. I’ll be speaking on 7th February on the topic of ‘responsible events’ and taking part in a panel discussion about the key issues facing the events sector in the next twelve months.

It looks like a really interesting programme and there are some more details below:

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DAY 1: DIGITAL EVENT HORIZONS
The day includes: digital production opportunities (AV3), audience development within the virtual environment (Eventbrite), digital marketing applications within event activity (Barefoot Media), and digital event design. The day concludes with a plenary session where Dogbite, Miracle Theatre and Cinegi will discuss their recent NESTA funded live streaming project

DAY 2: SUSTAINABLE EVENT HORIZONS
Workshop seminars focus on the creative aspects of sustainability, and a panel discussion asks “what are the main challenges for the sector in the next 12 months?” Guest speakers include Mike Richmond (Richmond Event Management: REM), and WRAP (Circular Economy,Resource Efficiency Experts).

1 day £40. Both days £75.

Thursday 6 February 2014, 09:00 – Friday 7 February 2014, 17:30
The Performance Centre, Falmouth University, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9LX
01326 259349 or email boxoffice@falmouth.ac.uk

Book review: Eventful Cities

I’ve just had a review of the book ‘Eventful Cities’ published in the journal Cultural Trends.  This new book looks at the role that events play in the economies and cultural lives of cities.  Provocatively, the authors suggest that we may be witnessing the disappearance of cultural policy and its replacement with cultural programming.

You can read my review by visiting the journal site, and you can read through some of the book on google books, or by clicking on the image below:

London 2012: Good value for money

I’m going to be on the BBC News tonight, at some point around 9pm, debating the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with Ian Sinclair, who has had a great deal to say about the negative impacts of the Olympics in East London.  I take the view that 2012 is making a hugely significant contribution to the development of the city and that its impacts are, broadly speaking, positive, even if it may be many years before they are fully felt.  I wrote about this in my blog for the Metro newspaper recently and I’ve copied the article below…

At a time when the Government is regularly criticized for cutting spending and not investing in big projects to get the economy moving, why are people so angry about the billions being spent on the Olympics?

Ever since the Government first announced its intentions to cut public spending on a scale scarcely anyone had thought possible, the cry from the opposition and campaigners has been for the government to spend.

These cries make good sense; invest now in big infrastructure projects, create jobs in construction and manufacturing, prop up areas suffering worst from the effects of the economic crisis.

The F10 bridge with construction workers from the Aquatics Centre forming a giant number 2 to signify two years until the start of London 2012 Olympic Games (Getty)

Another set of demands; invest in sustainable development, in young people, in culture and sport, and invest in long-term projects that leave a lasting legacy.

The money that has been spent on the development of the Olympic Park in Stratford meets these criteria and should be seen as the one shining example of where this otherwise spendthrift government is doing exactly what its critics says it should: spending big.

Celebrate the fact that the government is actually spending some money where it is needed

The total cost to the taxpayer of staging the Olympics will probably end up somewhere between 12-15billion. That money has been spent over seven years and hasn’t really been affected by the public spending cuts.

That money has directly created thousands of jobs and, indirectly, tens of thousands more. The excuse of a few weeks of sport has allowed successive governments to transform the fortunes of a part of east London that has suffered from multiple deprivations for a generation.

Infrastructure developments on this scale always leave victims. If it were possible to create projects that didn’t involve forced evictions, that didn’t create opportunities for a sometimes greedy private sector and that didn’t cause political controversy, then someone would have worked that out by now.  But whether it’s a bridge, an airport, a bypass, a conference centre or a mega-event, investments of global significance can never be politically neutral.

It is the job of governments to make the case for their spending and to satisfy the public that they really will benefit from it. Successive governments haven’t won that argument.

But we pay taxes every day for services and projects that some of us will never use like schools, pensions, social services and defense. Add the Olympics to that list, think about the benefits that it can deliver, and celebrate the fact that the government is actually spending some money where it is needed.

Blogging for the Metro Newspaper on the 2012 Olympics

Over the next few months, I’m going to be blogging for the Metro Newspaper about the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.  I’m going to concentrate on the non-sporting aspects of the Olympics, as I’m no sporting expert, and I’ll have a focus on issues surrounding the impacts of the Games, economically, socially and culturally.  You can click on the image below to see my most recent posts.

A Sporting Chance: the legacies of mega-events for post-industrial British cities

I’ll be contributing to this event at the end of May….

The City Of Manchester stadium, a legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Now renamed as the Etihad Stadium and home to Manchester City football club.

 

A Sporting Chance: the legacies of mega-events for post-industrial British cities

 23rd and 24th May 2012

Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), University of Manchester

Comparing the city of Manchester, ten years after it hosted the Commonwealth Games, with London – host to the Olympic Games in 2012, this two day workshop invites critical inter-disciplinary discussion and evaluation of the legacies of sporting mega-events for post-industrial British cities.

The workshop is funded by the new Urban Experiments research theme at CRESC  and brings together twelve academics whose research is concerned, in various ways, with exploring the socio-economic, political and material transformations brought about by post-industrialisation and/or sporting mega events billed as catalysts for urban regeneration.

Speakers include:

Mike Raco, Professor of Urban and Regional Governance, The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, London.

Dr Adam Brown, Director and founder member of Substance research cooperative, Manchester

Professor John Gold, Department of History, Philosophy and Religion – Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University.

Professor John Horne, Professor of Sport and Sociology, University of Central Lancashire

Dr Larissa Davies, Senior Research Fellow Sport Industry Research Centre Sheffield Hallam University

Dr. Andrew Smith, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster

James Kennell, Director Economic Development Resource Centre, University of Greenwich Business School.

Camilla Lewis, PhD candidate, Social Anthropology, University of Manchester

Beth Carley, PhD candidate, Cathy Marsh Centre for Survey and Social Research, University of Manchester

Gillian Evans, RCUK Research Fellow, CRESC, University of Manchester

Allan Cochrane, Professor of Urban Studies, Social Sciences, Open University

For more information and to reserve a place contact K.D.ho@open.ac.uk