A pilot study showed that data can be used to make event arrangements smoother and better. All parties involved in event organisation, such as restaurants, cities and hospitality services, can benefit from the opportunities provided by data.
Events are essential for tourism and for their overall surroundings. They bring in a significant number of visitors, not only to the event itself, but also to stay, dine and shop in the local services and tour the attractions and other destinations.
As a part of the The Sustainable Growth for Tourism: Southern Finland project, Forum Virium Helsinki carried out a pilot study in summer 2023 with the aim of helping event producers and tourism companies with collecting, analysing and utilising data. The pilot study made use of an analysis platform developed by Salmi Platform, with which visitor and impact data can be collected from events. The test events for the pilot were the U23 European Athletics Championships held in Espoo in July and JVG’s stadium concert held in Helsinki in August.
“The typical challenges involved are the lack of factual information related to events and sharing the events’ benefits to the whole network involved in building the event. In this pilot, we strived to solve these challenges together with event organisers and regional organisations,” say Marko Filenius from Tridea Oy and Wille Markkanen from Salmi Platform. The companies were responsible for collecting and analysing data during the pilot study.
Data reveals areas for improvement
The pilot study followed the digital communication channels of tourism companies. The purpose of the acquired data was to understand how actively stakeholders are involved in the event preparations, how communication efforts reach the audience, and how communication influences ticket sales, for example.
Another method used was an extensive survey carried out during the athletics championships and the stadium concert. The survey looked at the event visitors’ spending, carbon footprint and customer experience. Survey responses were collected via a QR code, social media and websites both during and after the events.
”It was fascinating to study the economic impact of an international sporting event on the city and visitors’ views of Espoo as a tourism destination and event venue,” says Miikka Valo, Director of Conventions and Tourism at Visit Espoo.
The analysis on the data collected from the events showed that both events were extremely successful, overall. The analysis also revealed areas for improvement related to topics such as dining, mobility and access control in the event areas. As for digital communication, it was shown that the visibility of events’ partners should be developed, moving forward.
The pilot encourages data collection in the future
Based on the pilot, an operating model and recommendations will be created for using data in similar event arrangements in the future. The aim is to activate business networks to join collaborations and make use of shared data. This will expand their business opportunities and help them develop their operations. All stakeholders involved in event organisation can benefit from a shared model and data to support one another during the process.
The event data pilot meets one of the goals of the Sustainable Growth for Tourism: Southern Finland project, which is the development of knowledge management in tourism regions. In the pilot, the aim was to use customer data to gain a broader and higher-quality understanding of visitors in the region and the impact of events on cities.
The pilot project involved the event organisers U23 competition organisation and Fullsteam, regional organisations Visit Espoo and the City of Helsinki Tourism Unit, and expert companies FlowHouse Oy, Tridea Oy and Salmi Platform Oy.
The Sustainable Growth for Tourism: Southern Finland project supports the post-pandemic recovery and competitiveness of tourism industry businesses by developing new tourism products. At the same time, the project develops the knowledge management, cybersecurity and sustainability of companies, taking into account the needs of different target audiences in terms of services. The project is funded via the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council and the Regional Council of Southwest Finland by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Union’s COVID-19 recovery measures for 2021-2023.
Photo: Ronja Määttä / City of Espoo