The numbers tell the tale

The challenge: Develop a system to accurately measure visitor numbers at free events in the city.

Description of the problem

The municipality of The Hague is looking for a method to measure the total number of visitors (residents and tourists) of events in the city. These events can vary a lot: large vs. small, at one location vs. spread out over the city, paid vs. free events. Examples of events at one location are Parkpop and Bevrijdingsfestival Den Haag and examples of events that are spread out over the city are The Life I Live Festival on Koningsnacht + Koningsdag or NNCPC Loop Den Haag. An existing research method based on telephone data in combination with questionnaires is too inaccurate and thus insufficient. The municipality would like to be able to measure how many people visit each type of event.

What are we looking for?

The municipality challenges startups to design a research method or technology that can be used to accurately (i.e. with minimum error) measure the number of visitors of (in particular) free events. The municipality prefers a method or technology that can be used for each event, for example in combination with (open) data. Other innovative ideas are also welcome. The municipality of The Hague is not the only city that faces this challenge, other large cities are also looking for ways to solve this.

What are we not looking for?

The methodology or technology may not violate visitors’ privacy.

Background information

Events are valuable for a city. They create livelihood and great dynamics in the city, while offering its residents an attractive way to spend their free time. The municipality of The Hague financially contributes to selected events every year and has two regulations: the arrangement for large public events and the promotion fund for small events. The most important condition for a financial contribution is that the event generates/results into an economic spin-off for the city. In the direct economic spin-off, the municipality focuses on: the number of visitors, origin of visitors (e.g. whether visitors come from outside the region), multiple-day stays (does the event lead to overnight stays) and collaborations (does the event cooperate with local entrepreneurs and institutions).

It is difficult to determine the number of visitors, especially at free events. There is no method available (yet) for measuring the number of visitors accurately.