Empowering All: Leveraging the EIC for Stakeholder Engagement & Community Advocacy

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<span>Empowering All: Leveraging the EIC for Stakeholder Engagement & Community Advocacy </span>
Bottom Line:

The Event Impact Calculator (EIC) is a strategic tool for Puerto Rico. It's not only capable of assessing the immediate financial benefits of events, but also serves as a compass for long-term economic planning, community upliftment, and stabilizing the island's economy.

About Discover Puerto Rico  

Discover Puerto Rico is a private, not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) whose mission is to make Puerto Rico visible to the world as a premier travel destination. The DMO brings prosperity to the people of Puerto Rico by collaboratively promoting the Island's diversity and uniqueness for leisure, business travel, and events. As Puerto Rico's tourism marketing, sales, and promotion organization, we collaborate with key governmental and nongovernmental partners throughout the visitor economy and the community to fuel economic growth.  

Destination Profile  

Puerto Rico is the smallest island of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean, located east of the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, so locals are American citizens, and American travelers can enter the Island without carrying a passport. Spanish and English are the official languages, and the currency is the U.S. Dollar. The climate on the island is warm and tropical, with average temperatures between 70- and 80 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. Rich history and culture, exceptional food and cocktails, pristine beaches, majestic mountains, and experiences nourishing body and soul are all packed into one sun-kissed Caribbean paradise. Puerto Rico is full of welcoming people and buena gente (which is Boricua lingo for kind and friendly). Here, you will feel like family instead of just a visitor. Discover vibrant cultural experiences, a celebration of life, and a captivating rhythm around every corner. Let us be the first to say ¡bienvenidos!  

Population size: 3.3 million  

Destination Budget Size: 40-60 million  

Visit our website to learn more.  

Our Approach to the Event Impact Calculator  

In Puerto Rico, the Event Impact Calculator is a vital tool for assessing the economic impact of meetings and sports events. By analyzing direct and indirect financial outcomes, our organization can effectively communicate the comprehensive value of events to our stakeholders, including local government partners. This process involves internal analysis and sharing detailed findings with residents, businesses, and local officials to highlight the events' significance within our community. The calculator aids in outlining the potential economic benefits of utilizing incentive funds for event organizers.  

The strategy of allocating incentive funding exclusively to local vendors for services directly related to events ensures that our investments yield substantial returns. This approach generates additional tax revenue and fosters residents' economic opportunities. By leveraging the insights provided by the Event Impact Calculator, we can demonstrate our organization's significant contribution to the region's economic vitality to stakeholders, reinforcing the importance of our initiatives in driving local prosperity. 

Learning Experience from Using the Tool  

We utilize the calculator for sports and meeting events that come to our destination throughout the year. For every sports lead, a Sports Qualification Form is completed and signed by the event organizer so that we have the most accurate information for completing the EIC to determine the ROI and evaluate any booking incentives. Questions on the form include the expected number of athletes, spectators, local and non-local, hotel rooms needed per night, and level of play. For major event sponsorships, in addition to the Sports Qualification Form, we use a sponsorship filter to optimize the identification of promising hosting opportunities. Categories include logistical aspects (tangible, specific details related to the event) and community impact (potential influence of the organization and media coverage).

A recent example is the World Wrestling Entertainment Premium Live “Backlash” Event in Puerto Rico. The event produced a combined direct and indirect local economic impact of $9.9 Million. 

Event Impact Calculator Output Goal  

Our goal with the Calculator is to measure investment returns and justify hosting group events in Puerto Rico. This tool helps us present convincing arguments to the local government and stakeholders about the benefits of these events. We use it to demonstrate the economic impact on local businesses, educators, and other entities, enhancing support for events like conventions or sports tournaments. Additionally, we highlight this impact on an international audience, highlighting the global significance of our events. The Calculator also assists in helping potential investors assess the viability of newly proposed hotel and venue development projects, ensuring they understand the potential success of their investment.

Advocacy Opportunities from the Event Impact Calculator in Puerto Rico  

Recently, we utilized the Calculator to show local government leaders the financial advantages of sponsoring and retaining an event in Puerto Rico rather than letting it relocate to a rival location. This tool enabled us to clearly outline the event's contribution to our destination, supporting our argument to keep hosting the event here. Additionally, we informed our stakeholders about the event's economic and historically significant impact, ensuring they put their best foot forward to optimize the economic benefits for the island.

From our perspective, it is nothing short of astonishing to see the significant increase in revenue opportunities for small businesses as a direct result of the event impact analysis. Moreover, our ability to precisely calculate these impacts has improved our interactions with stakeholders, especially in discussions about the financial benefits of introducing more services to the island and supporting facility improvements and new venues. Utilizing the Event Impact Calculator has revealed that event attendance figures, beyond just room occupancy metrics, are crucial for a comprehensive report on economic contributions. As our destination continues to surpass even pre Covid-19 spending levels, we are optimistic and confident that the financial contributions of our events will play a pivotal role in driving the Island's economic revival and prosperity. 

“Our mission through the use of the Calculator is to bring economic prosperity to Puerto Rico and improve the quality of place for our number one customer: our residents.” (Discover Puerto Rico) 

Key Takeaways  

The Event Impact Calculator is crucial in Puerto Rico's strategy to drive prosperity and remain resilient in tourism by quantifying the benefits of hosting events. Key takeaways include: 

Communicating Value to Stakeholders: The Calculator enables clear communication of an event's economic value to stakeholders, including the government. This is essential for demonstrating Puerto Rico's success in attracting sporting and meeting events.

Tracking Economic Impact:  The Calculator allows for monitoring the events' economic impact on the island's overall economy over time. This is key to understanding growth and areas for improvement.

Justifying Investments: The Calculator provides a solid basis for explaining the investment in attracting more groups to Puerto Rico. It highlights how events contribute to the local economy, supporting the case for further investment.

Highlighting Revenue Generation: The Calculator demonstrates the revenue generated from events for local hotels, venues, and restaurants, showing the broader economic benefits beyond direct event income.

Supporting Bid Wins for Future Events: Using the Calculator, we can capitalize on the increased demand for hosting events in Puerto Rico, including conventions and sporting tournaments. Winning more bids translates to greater economic prosperity. 

Uplifting the Community and Small Businesses: The economic activity spurred by events benefits the community by supporting small businesses and providing opportunities for upward mobility, contributing to a more vibrant local economy.

Promoting Year-Round Economic Activity: The goal is to use the Calculator to attract events that generate yearly economic activity. This approach aims to increase full-time employment opportunities and wages, encouraging residents to remain on or return to the island. 

Advice to Other Destinations in Use of the Calculator

Our advice for other destinations using the Event Impact Calculator (EIC) is straightforward: build strong relationships with your stakeholders and clearly show the economic benefits of hosting events. By quantifying the event's value in specific numbers, you will gain more stakeholder support. Demonstrating an event's return on investment is crucial as it educates stakeholders on its broader economic effects, displays how local businesses benefit, and provides opportunities for residents. 

Additionally, we recommend making the  Calculator a regular part of your discussions with community stakeholders. We also suggest performing post-event analyses to compare your initial estimates with the actual outcomes, enhancing future planning and accuracy. For additional resources on using the tool, Destinations International offers extremely valuable webinars on using the Calculator effectively, including methods for assessing an event's local impact.

The Calculator is not just for assessing past events but also a strategic tool for forecasting the benefits of future events and strengthening your bids. This approach will help articulate the value of hosting events in your destination, securing more opportunities, and contributing to economic growth. 

About The Author

Kim DaRoja

Vice President of Sales, Discover Puerto Rico

With over 25 years in sales and marketing, Kim DaRoja's professional journey is noteworthy. Her significant tenure within Marriott International, leading multiple sales and marketing teams, demonstrates a prominent level of expertise and leadership. Additionally, her 16 years of Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) experience indicate a deep understanding of the hospitality and tourism sectors.  

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About The Author

Ed Carey

Chief Sales Officer, Discover Puerto Rico

Ed Carey, the Chief Sales Officer for Discover Puerto Rico, brings a wealth of expertise in sales and marketing to the tourism sector, notably within group and tour and travel segments. His career highlights include pivotal roles in the launch and rebranding of iconic resorts like El Conquistador and the El San Juan Hotel, alongside significant contributions to the global hospitality landscape through his involvement with LXR Luxury Resorts, which evolved into Hilton's Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, and his leadership as Managing Director of Sales at the Boca Raton Resort and Boca Beach Club.  

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