What is ExPact?

Together with the Convention Industry Council, the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus is conducting a landmark study, called “ExPact.” An abbreviation for the Convention Expenditure & Impact Study, ExPact is designed to standardize event industry economic impact calculations and provide an updated measure of the impact of the convention and meeting industry. Delegates, exhibitors, and event organizers for meetings, conventions, and exhibitions will be surveyed to determine how much they spent in host cities. This type of survey has been conducted for many years by both IACVB and CIC, but this is the first year we are collaborating.

Why is ExPact important for planners?

ExPact 2003 will provide vital research to underscore the significant impact of the meeting industry's contributions to the economy. Also, each participant can learn what his or her event is worth and use this as a planning and negotiation tool. Armed with reliable data about your meeting, you can get the best deal for your organization in terms of dates, facilities, and lodging.

What types of events will be surveyed?

A total of 500 meetings, conventions, and trade shows, including a small number of consumer shows, will be surveyed. No sporting events will be included. The wide variety of criteria for selection will include capacity level of a destination, industry/market sector, and geographic location within the United States and Canada.

How can I volunteer an event, and how will I know if my event has been selected?

If you have an event that you think qualifies to be part of ExPact, visit www.expact.com for easy instructions about how to volunteer that event.

If your event is selected, you will be contacted by VERIS Consulting by regular mail. Typically, you will be notified some 12 weeks before the start of your event, and your information will be collected electronically.

What other benefits do planners receive by participating in ExPact?

In addition to learning the financial value of their events, participants will be offered the opportunity to ask up to five additional questions of their own (from a predetermined list of questions) of their delegates and exhibitors. As an added bonus, all event organizers participating in the survey will receive a $50 gift certificate from Amazon.com.

When will the results be available?

That depends on you! We hope a good response rate gives us all the data we need by year's end, with the results soon after. We need to come together and demonstrate what an economic powerhouse the meeting industry truly is.

Michael D. Gehrisch is president & CEO of the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, based in Washington, D.C.

We welcome your Talk Back essays, as well as Letters to the Editor. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length. Please send submissions and letters to Regina McGee, Editor, Association Meetings, 132 Great Road, Suite 200, Stow, MA 01775; or send e-mail to rmcgee@primediabusiness.com.