Regardless of what type of business you are or the industry you operate in, events have a longstanding history of being a way to connect people. They provide a platform for individuals to come together, share insights, and forge valuable relationships and companies have been harnessing this power for years, creating everything from roadshows and conferences to product launches and training workshops (to name but a few!)

When done right, events inform, inspire, and motivate, creating a positive and lasting impression on attendees. But one aspect that people tend to forget about is how events can benefit the communities and the local economies of the locations they take place in.

Often serving as catalysts for growth and development, events such as festivals, trade shows, and industry conferences, bring people together and create a wealth of opportunities for collaboration, innovation and trade. Large events often draw visitors from all over the country, if not the world, which has a positive knock-on effect in the surrounding area. Because of this, events have an important place in the economic landscape, including that of local communities, helping to stimulate economic activity within the region, driving revenue for local businesses and supporting various sectors such as hospitality, transportation, and retail.

The economic benefits of hosting events locally

Events can bring a myriad of economic benefits that have a ripple effect throughout the local community, leaving a positive impact on numerous sectors. Events attract visitors from different regions and countries, injecting new revenue streams into local businesses. Hotels and B&Bs, for example, will often see an increase in bookings. Cafés and restaurants near the event venue will experience higher footfalls, and transportation services will often observe greater demand, all contributing to a thriving local hospitality sector. This isn’t just good news for local business owners, as any influx of demand also means an increased number of local job opportunities to meet it.

Events can also present the opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services. Exhibitions and trade shows enable local businesses to gain exposure to a broader audience, potentially leading to new partnerships and market expansion. For small and medium-sized enterprises, such events can be a stepping stone to success, enabling them to grow and create more employment opportunities for the local workforce. Outside of active participation in these events, local businesses, such as catering companies and food trucks, benefit from new business opportunities, as well as an increase in work for hospitality staff and event staff. Events require staffing for everything from bartenders and mixologists to serving staff, to stage runners, to crowd control, which can help create new job opportunities in the community, and help to boost the local economy.

An example of the impact that an event can have on the local community and economy, was Gary Vaynerchuk’s 2022 Veecon event. The event utilised his existing community by only being open to those who held an NFT. The event was hosted in the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and sold out for 10,000, with 6,950 attending. Out of the attendees, 83% reported that it was their first time in Minneapolis, with 5,000 of the attendees being US residents (500 of them were local), and 1,950 attendees visiting internationally from over 70 countries. The event brought a huge boost to tourism in the area, with attendees staying 5 days on average, with over 5,270 hotel rooms/guests per night and an economic impact of $21,084,567, as a direct result of the event. You can learn more about this amazing event and the positive impact it made here: but it just goes to show what a profoundly positive impact events can have on a local economy. 

Identifying and overcoming potential challenges and risk

While there’s no doubt that events can have a transformative impact on local economies, they also come with challenges and potential risks that require careful consideration.

Large-scale events can lead to increases in areas that don’t have such a positive effect, such as traffic congestion, noise pollution, and other disruptions that could adversely affect residents and businesses in the area. When planning events, ensure you’re considering viable accommodations to help with this. For example, efficiently planning routes and utilising transportation options (such as a shuttle service) can not only be seen as a perk by your attendees but can also help mitigate aspects of your event that might inconvenience the surrounding community.

Assessing and mitigating risks and challenges requires comprehensive planning and collaboration between event organisers, local authorities, and community stakeholders. Strategies such as efficient public communication and responsible waste disposal can help strike a balance between the success of the event, and minimising any negative impacts on the local environment and daily life. In addition to adding recognition to your company as being responsible and empathetic, this will also ensure that you can use the same venue again, should you wish to. 

From boosting local tourism to generating opportunities in the job market, events can have a profound influence on local communities and economies, transcending mere entertainment to become powerful catalysts for growth and prosperity. But it’s important to approach your event planning with mindfulness, addressing potential challenges, striving for sustainability, and aiming to minimise disruption to residents so that events can continue to be a force for good.