As a result of recommendations from members on the kind of data most useful for centre planning and management, AIPC engaged HLT Advisory to undertake an Operational and Financial Benchmarking project to provide participants with benchmark centre performance data that can be used for planning and tracking purposes as well as comparisons of key data with similar centres, The first edition of the survey results was presented at the 2017 Annual Conference in Sydney, and generated 30+ metrics across a spectrum of operations and financial areas. The output was very well received, with the result that a 2018 edition is now underway. It is expected that an increasing number of AIPC members will want to participate in the program in order to be able to access the valuable resulting data and insights.
Each participating centre received a custom benchmarking report which presented their specific data within a range of results for similar metrics in other comparable centres. All data is used on a completely confidential basis to generate aggregate figures for comparison, and overall results are only available to those who participate in the program. The greater the participation, the more valuable the resulting data will be to participating members, which is why we remain open to new participants as we head into the second year of the program.
An evolving program
Since HLT Advisory presented the initial results, there have been some requests for clarification in a couple of key areas, which we are happy to provide as follows;
How much work is involved in completing the template?
For centres that participated in the last benchmarking report, the benchmarking template is largely unchanged with minor changes related to centre feedback we have received.
For new participants, most of the required data will already be in your records – the only real need will be to pull it together in the required format. This type of exercise has been done by groups of convention centres for a number of years in specific regions and is seen by them as a very achievable process. The team at HLT Advisory* is available to provide any assistance you may require in this regard.
What period will the results cover?
We ask for centres to provide data for the most recent two fiscal years. For the majority of centres, this will include complete data for calendar 2017 and calendar 2016. For some centres that report on different fiscal years, we ask that centres report on a period consistent with their audited financial statements. Some differences in terms of reporting period among the sample, while not ideal, will not materially impact the results and the impact is outweighed by the benefit of increased centre participation.
What happens if we use a different fiscal year?
If the proposed deadline is difficult to meet due to fiscal year end and completeness of data, please contact HLT directly and they will work with you to accommodate your centre’s participation.
Who gets to access the results and subsequent analyses?
In the interests of fairness, only members that have contributed data to the survey will be able to access the resulting compilations and analysis. If a member contributes partial data they will only be able to access results for those areas to which they have contributed. In addition, because of the manner in which HLT will report back on the data, it will not be possible to access any information in reports shared between centres, so you must actually participate to get the value from this project.
Can I be assured of the confidentiality of any data I submit?
Yes. The data gathered will only be used in the aggregate or identified in an unattributed way. No individual data will be made available to any users, including other participants. The collection and compilation of data is being undertaken at arms-length from AIPC, under the terms of our agreement with HLT as project manager. AIPC’s contract with HLT stipulates:
• AIPC member centres submit completed data templates directly to HLT. HLT will maintain the confidentiality of these templates at all times.
• HLT collects and analyzes the data and determines a reporting structure (e.g., by geographic location, size/type of venue, revenue levels) based on the number of contributing venues.
• HLT then uses a report format that will disclose the contributor’s data in relation to other contributors without associating the name of the contributor to these data. For example, the table below shows a sample output page from the custom report.
Each centre’s data is anonymized on each page, so centre “1” on the above page may be centre “5” on another page. This way all participants see the data, can understand where their building fits vis a vis the other buildings among the sample (in this case, six buildings), but can’t attribute the other data back to a specific building. For added protection, each page is likely to have the buildings in a different order. The columns cannot be associated with a specific building, rather show the data from all buildings (for example, in first, third or sixth place).
HLT communicates the results to each individual participant; copies of these reports will not be provided to any third party including AIPC, and HLT will not use the data collected for any other purpose than the conduct of the AIPC benchmarking study. HLT will return all templates and requested data at any time if so requested by AIPC.
The consensus of AIPC members that have participated in this benchmarking initiative is that it yields a wide range of highly useful insights that are valuable to both performance measurement and planning. However, these results will only be made available to actual participants. We would therefore urge you to submit your information by the deadline so you and your centre can participate in this rewarding and beneficial initiative.