Since 2017, AIPC has 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. Each centre receives a detailed benchmarking report comparing 30+ metrics across a spectrum of operations and financial areas. The report also uses aggregate data and the benefits of consistent participation to assess broader industry trends, such as event load pace, event characteristics, and revenue outlook.

Each participating centre receives 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 results are only available to those who participate in the program. The greater the participation, the more valuable the resulting data is to participating members. Also, the report is revised annually to include or remove benchmarks based on participant feedback to ensure benchmarks are relevant to current industry needs.

An evolving program
As the program has evolved, 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 past  benchmarking reports, the benchmarking template is largely consistent with previous years 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 the proceeding calendar year.  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 reports back on the data, it will not be possible to access any information in reports shared between centres, so you must 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.
AIPC Benchmarking

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 how their building compares to 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.

Contact AIPC for additional information:


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