FRANKFURT: Consistent with the approach that has underpinned its new brand, Business Events Sydney (BESydney) has challenged convention with the release of a methodology that could set a new benchmark for credible and transparent reporting by the global business events industry.
BESydney’s new inscope expenditure methodology is believed to be the first of its kind to accurately measure the true value of ‘new money’ to destinations that host business events.
Speaking at the Sydney press conference at IMEX, BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith announced that the findings of the Estimating inscope expenditure attributed to business events in New South Wales – the third phase of the bureau’s world-leading research into the benefits and legacies of business events – provided deeper and more accurate insights into the direct association delegate expenditure contribution of business events to host destinations.
“As an industry, I think that we’ve grown enormously over the past decade. The business events industry is increasingly sophisticated and the legacies of events are increasingly understood: how cities and countries view, value and leverage business events is evolving,” said Ms Lewis-Smith.
“The integrity of data is paramount and directly influences the reputation of our industry. Credibility, accountability and consistency are three things any leading industry should strive for in the data they gather. Robust information means we can share a deeper understanding of our industry and its commercial context.
“We must be accountable. We must be accurate. We must be transparent. Above all, we must not be afraid to ask questions, to challenge the way things ‘have always been done’, and to strive for continual improvement.
“In Sydney, we place great value on the quality of data and measurement. We’ve got billion-dollar infrastructure investments underway that are directly linked to the business events industry. It’s important to be able to explain to our community how these major pieces of infrastructure contribute to economic wellbeing and the overall health of our state and our nation.”
Undertaken in partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), data was drawn from 12 international conferences held in Sydney in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The expenditure figures included in the study represented expenditure in the host region that was directly linked to the business event, i.e. that would not have occurred had the business event not taken place. Distinct from previous economic impact studies, it excluded expenditure that did not contribute ‘new money’ to the host destination, such as airfares, conference registration fees, and expenditure made by delegates who were coming to the destination anyway.
“The purpose of this latest research was to develop a robust, rigorous and sophisticated methodology for accurately defining and measuring the impacts of our industry. Ultimately, we wanted to establish a ‘best practice’ approach. I believe we have achieved this,” said Ms Lewis-Smith.
BESydney has worked with the UTS Business School since 2010 on a series of research studies aimed at developing best practice measurement of the business event industry. The first, released in 2011 and titled Beyond Tourism Benefits: measuring the social legacies of business events documented the broad and long-lasting legacies of five business events held in Sydney between 2009 and 2011. The findings, which proved both qualitatively and quantitatively that business events contributed to both knowledge and visitor economies, provided the basis for the bureau’s closer engagement with the New South Wales (NSW) Government and broad recognition of the industry’s role in an aligned economic development strategy.
The second phase sought to apply the research globally and involved contributions from Sydney’s Future Convention Cities Initiative partners Seoul, Toronto and Durban. The findings from this report, Beyond Tourism Benefits: Building an international profile was released at IMEX this year.
Last week, Sydney was ranked Australia’s leading convention and conference city and among the world’s top 20 by the latest International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA) Country and City Rankings. Delighted to retain its leading position, Ms Lewis-Smith said it was important that these results were viewed in the context of a much bigger picture.
“Rankings such as this certainly contribute positively to our overall reputation as a leading business event destination and we are thrilled to have secured our spot among the world’s top 20. We also know that our global appeal rests on a number of factors. Our ability to articulate the benefits of hosting international events in our city, above any other, is key,” said Ms Lewis-Smith.
“The quality of research institutions and local professional bodies, opportunities for information exchange and to learn and collaborate with peers, local talent and thought-leaders, as well as support from across the city, are all part of the decision making puzzle.
“We also measure our success in terms of strategic impact – how are we helping to achieve broader economic and social objectives for NSW and Australia. We work hard to align the events we secure with key sectors and also other major events. While we value the global recognition that comes from the ICCA rankings, we also know that our efforts to continually improve and evolve are essential to remain competitive and will continue to keep us in great stead for the future.”
“The ICCA rankings also don’t take into account the incentive business we secure for the city. This business, largely out of Asia, now accounts for around 50 per cent of the events that we secure for NSW. One of our next projects is a detailed study into the inscope expenditure of this corporate business, again, to ensure a deeper and more accurate understanding of our sector.
“BESydney will also be expanding its work with UTS on Estimating inscope expenditure attributed to business events in New South Wales to include exhibitor contribution and legacy benefits.”