The PredictHQ Event Index: What it is and how it works

Published on April 25, 2022

Events are a fundamental part of understanding the world around us. They drive people movement, as well as footfall and demand for businesses. 

The PredictHQ Event Index provides an easy-to-understand week-by-week indication of how much events will impact key cities. This enables companies operating in these areas as well as communities to prepare for sudden surges or drops driven by event-related demand and activity. These demand surges are significant: in March 2022 in the US, event related economic spend was almost $5 billion (source) and disproportionately enjoyed by the businesses that were prepared for the demand impact of events.

Introducing the PredictHQ Event Index

PredictHQ tracks 19 categories of events, from scheduled and attended events such as sports games, festivals and expos through to live breaking events such as severe weather and natural disasters, but also impactful mass events such as school holidays, academic dates and public holidays.

Our customers, from Uber to Domino’s Pizza to Accor Hotels, use our verified and enriched events data to better forecast and plan for demand. We work with them to identify which of the hundreds of thousands events each week will impact their demand so they can create dynamic and accurate plans for staffing, inventory, pricing and other core functions.

But as events rebound across the world post-pandemic, we recognized the need for a simple indicator for cities and ultimately businesses in those cities to understand how much events will impact their city each week. 

How the PredictHQ Event Index works

The Event Index is a series of machine learning models that compare the event activity in weekly chunks for more than cities in the USA with their historical event activity. 

It factors in most of our events, excluding our live breaking events which are tracked as they emerge, and our Live TV Events (which forecasts viewership for key sports broadcasts ahead of time). It includes:

Severe weather: PredictHQ does not predict severe weather, but we have factored in our seven years of enriched historical data and assigned a score to the algorithm for peak periods i.e. Hurricane season. This is weighted less heavily than the attended events listed above this, so as to not skew the model too much. 

The PredictHQ Event Index provides a score out of 20 for a city’s event impact each week 

Totalling the impact of these events, we compare this total to the last five years of event impact totals to assign a score out of 20 to each week as a simple summary of event impact. This produces an index for the upcoming four weeks, as well as the previous eight weeks. A few important notes:

  • If a city is at 10, it’s on average for that city. Event impact should still be tracked as events occur in different parts of a city, impacting locations nearby. 

  • If it’s above 15, it means a city is likely to be significantly busier than usual and below 8 means distinctly quieter.

  • Each city has its own baseline/scale: An event of 5,000 for Chicago or New York is a bigger deal in say Tampa, Florida or Wichita, Kansas, due to their much smaller populations. This means that an 18 in New York will be made up of millions of people, whereas an 18 in Wichita will be made up of just over 100,000 people.

  • In the same way, the Event Index tracks event volume also. 100+ events of more than 500 people in a week is much more significant in San Francisco, compared to Los Angeles.

For example, let’s take a look at the event index for San Antonio, Texas in the first monthly Event Index published, for May 2022. While it's not the most event-impacted city in May 2022 (those are Las Vegas and Pittsburgh), it scores a high of 16.3 in the first week of May, before dropping sharply to 7.6. This means any business that is using a rolling average for forecasting, staffing and inventory (i.e. many businesses) with experience a significant drop and wastage in the second week if they have key locations near key events.

Here's the San Antonio Event Index for March to May 2022:


And here's some more detail on the that make up that demand surge the week of April 30/May 1, 2022:


This is important for businesses to track as a week scoring a high 17 (three in March - April for Pittsburgh) requires very different staffing and inventory to adequately and efficiently meet demand compared to the week in January that weighed in as a 7. For our accommodation, airline and transport customers, they will need to update their pricing, packaging and asset mobilization for both high and low weeks.

How to use the PredictHQ Event Index

The PredictHQ Event Index is like a weather update but for people movement, footfall and demand. It’s a quick, easy to understand summary to alert cities, communities and companies about how impacted by events they will be each week. The index is weekly, with four weeks future visibility and two months back.

The Event Index doesn’t provide information on which events are driving these surges and drops, simply because it’s so complex. We understand knowing which exactly which events are driving this impact is critical for aligning your demand planning and forecasting to the real-world - it’s why PredictHQ exists. 

But companies can access that information through our API, as well as our visualization and low code tools. Get in touch with our team to get the full picture of how events will drive your demand.

The index is a summary of event impact that’s designed to be free and accessible to everyone as the world taps in the enormous impact of events.

How to keep track of the PredictHQ Event Index

We will be publishing a monthly report here and newsletter that summarizes the upcoming event index scores for the cities that will encounter the most dynamic patterns ie weeks scoring 16 or above, or 8 and below. You can sign up here

If you are a business seeking forecasting or planning insight, the Event Index is only the beginning. You need verified and enriched event data, and we equip companies from startups through to massive major corporations with the ability to find and filter their most relevant events and integrate these directly into their planning. Get in touch with our team for access customized for your needs.