SportsPro talked to James Paterson, director of Repucom’s Government, Tourism and Events (GTE) division. Paterson gave his insights about the division under the headline “A global offering”. He discussed the development of the GTE division, it’s plans for the future and the advantages being able to tap into the existing expertise elsewhere in the Repucom network. The interview appeared in SportsPro‘s Destination Report 2014:
What was the background to setting up the division?
I came across in June 2012 to set up the Government, Tourism and Events division for Repucom. Prior to that I was head of strategy, insights and legal for Event New South Wales, which has now morphed into Destination New South Wales – effectively Sydney’s events and tourism arm. I was in that role for five years prior to joining Repucom. The reason that Repucom had identified this as being a key area is that there wasn’t anyone in the marketplace that could provide a one-stop shop around the holistic evaluation of major events and being able to provide clients on a global basis with what the impact of their event portfolio are and how best to maximise their outcomes.
What sets apart the good cities from the great ones when it comes to major events policy?
You’ll find the very good host cities have a dedicated calendar of events that’s clearly articulated to not only its local residents but also promoted widely into their key tourism markets. They’ll have comprehensive and best practice major event evaluation systems that enable that entire event portfolio to be measured and directly comparable. They’ll have systems around very robust risk assessment and risk mitigation processes in place so they clearly understand any potential risk of acquiring or supporting an event, and how those can be mitigated. They’ll also use their contractual systems – I’m a lawyer by profession, so this is one of my key areas – to ensure that all the key elements are covered off, to ensure each event’s outcomes can be maximised; for instance, if an event owner says there’s going to be 20,000 international visitors coming into that venue, you use that contractual basis to be able to put that in as a dedicated KPI – whether you view it as a carrot or a stick, that the systems are in that contractual agreement to ensure those things are delivered. The other key thing is they’ve got the buy-in of all their key stakeholders, particularly across government; without that, if you don’t have city-wide support from the police, transport etc. it can make it very problematic. It’s about ensuring that the wider levels of government understand the wider benefits of these events and how they can benefit and how it can put that destination on the global stage. The other key thing is really ensuring that they make their host destination attractive to rights-holders and event owners, to ensure that the process of engaging with them is supportive, that it’s easy to navigate and will ultimately lead to a successful event. Your event owner isn’t going to bring it unless it’s going to be profitable and commercially successful. The interesting thing that we’re finding at the moment is that it’s really absolutely key for cities to engage with local residents, to understand what they want in terms of the event genres they’d like to see and give them the confidence that their taxpayer or ratepayer dollars will be well spent. That whole process around all those systems can provide that.
James Paterson discussed the future of Canberra, Australia’s capital city in regard to key impacts such as Global marketing and media impacts, tourism impacts, sponsorship impacts and more:
“The ACT Government contracted Repucom to robustly measure both the holistic impact of its entire major event portfolio as well as gauge the support of the people of Canberra for hosting future events. The final strategic imperative was to provide the ACT with a consistent and objective pre and post event investment selection process designed for fully informed and objective decision making.”