A powerful new calculator tool launched last week helps destination marketing organizations, or convention and visitor bureaus, prove the value of meetings and conventions to their local economies. And it can reap benefits for meeting managers, too.

Destination Marketing Association International rolled out its new Event Impact Calculator, which instead of relying on national spending averages for meetings, allows cities to measure the economic impact by local standards. Since DMAI first announced the calculator at its annual convention in July in New Orleans, 67 DMOs have purchased the tool, developed by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company. At the time DMAI President and CEO Michael Gerhrisch called it “a game changer.”

DMAI also announced that a new data partner, SMG, adds critical convention center economic impact data. SMG joins eight other data sources used to estimate the economic impact of a meeting, including the Convention Industry Council’s study on the Economic Significance of Meetings, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics city-specific data, input from the meeting organizer, and others.

“With the aid of this terrific tool, we are now able to report key metrics to our stakeholders, such as visitor spend on lodging, transportation, retail, recreation, and food & beverage, as well as the number of jobs specifically generated from the meetings and convention business we help bring to our city,” said Barbara Kirklighter, senior director, Research & Revenue Strategy for LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Meeting professionals can take that data, too, and use it to effectively negotiate and prove the value of their meetings to future meeting sites.

Applying the calculator to its convention in July in New Orleans, DMAI announced that the event resulted in direct spending of $1.4 million, supported more than 1,000 jobs and nearly $800,000 in local wages, while generating $132,000 in local tax receipts.

For more information on the tool, visit the DMAI Web site.