The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), managed by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), is the third largest convention center in the nation. Generating revenue by hosting events and charging for rent, food and beverage, labor services, and other amenities, the GWCCA holds around 300 events annually. With a firmwide strategy to grow profits, the GWCCA identified improving event selection as a critical target. Thus, the GWCCA is shifting their business model to assess profitability event by event instead of date by date.
Currently, the GWCCA does not have room assignment guidelines for incoming events, resulting in high operating costs due to many small events utilizing all three buildings despite only needing one building of space altogether. Additionally, their current budgeted cost is on average 61% off of the true cost, which makes it challenging for the GWCCA to evaluate potential events; 6.4% events were held at loss due to unexpected high cost. As current pricing methods do not consider potential cost and the GWCCA cannot charge client post event, the GWCCA experiences fluctuations in profit earned per event.
To help the GWCCA tackle current challenges, we designed three methodologies to be used for each incoming event; (1) Room Assignment Optimization Model that outputs cost efficient rooms, (2) Cost Prediction that returns a predicted cost, and (3) Profit Margins Classification that recommends a baseline price. To make sure the client can interact with the designs when evaluating an incoming event, all three designs are packaged in an easy-to-use web application.
With the web app, the GWCCA can enter event information that will serve as inputs to the models and interact with model outputs. Once the information is entered, the first model will run and its output will be used as inputs for the second model. The result of the second model will feed into the third method to output a recommended baseline price on the web app for the GWCCA to consider moving towards negotiation phase.
Value and Impact
As the GWCCA will continue improving data collection in the future, our work product is expected to decrease the number of spread-out events by 19%, improve the cost prediction accuracy by 36%, and increase annual profit by $1.1 million.The web app also provides a tool for the GWCCA to compare events, allowing them to make a more educated decision. Most importantly, the web app bridges the gap between the salespeople and the operations department by linking both of their expertise and increasing visibility of events’ requirements. These improvements will allow our client to increase their economic impact on the city of Atlanta by bringing in more tourists and employment.