A Balancing Act

Successful event recruitment is one of the most crucial strategic objectives for many Destination Marketing Organizations.  The reason is simple:  events + out of town visitors = tax revenues for the community.

There are many components to consider when determining which events to recruit.  Naturally the destination has to have the appropriate facilities to logistically support the event.  Next, a critical analysis is conducted of the number of out-of-town attendees with a proven record of hotel stays.  Additional assessments include scope and length of the event, potential for additional community impacts, media exposure, and the possibility for recurrence.

In determining the potential for recurring or future business opportunities associated with an event, a historical pattern is assessed.  Is the event annually occurring? Does the organizer have limitations on the number of years that they can stay in one location?  Is the event location chosen by the sponsors, or does it tend to rotate between favorite locations yearly?  Another factor is whether the event organizers produce other events that we could host.  An example is the upcoming Bassmaster Carhartt College Series on April 12-13.  The event itself is a new one for the area, and will expose a different demographic to our towns.   VLN was able to recruit the event smoothly since we have effectively executed events for its organizer, B.A.S.S., many times in the past.

Returning events typically require fewer man hours, negotiations, and coordination due to previous experiences with the event organizers.  Another key benefit of returning events is that the attendees have familiarity with the local resources.   The VisitLakeNorman.org soccer tournaments, held bi-annually since 2009, are an excellent example.2012 Event Stats  The competing age groups range from 9 to 18 years old, which creates a potential for the same families to visit ten years in a row.  Repeat visitors have their favorite local restaurants, retailers, and attractions to which they return each year, maximizing localized spending and revenues.  Destination loyalty of a recurring event is largely based on how simple the hosts make it for the organizers and the appeal to attendees.    Providing resources for navigating the local area is a large part of event success.

What if the event is not recurring?  In the case of major events that likely will not return to a specific location, the exposure for the destination is considered.  The publicity of hosting a nationally or internationally recognized event acquaints prospective organizers with our capabilities, as well as showcasing our amenities to individual travelers.  In the end, a balance of new and returning events is both beneficial and desired.  New events represent a broadening base of visitors that are introduced to our towns.  The recurrent ones lay the groundwork for loyal visitors to return to our amazing destination, allowing our community to reap the economic impacts for years to come.

Sally Ashworth

Executive Director

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