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The implications of best practice event management when applied to small-scale local events

Masterarbeit 2010 119 Seiten

BWL - Offline-Marketing und Online-Marketing


Table of Content




List of Tables

1. Introduction and Context
1.1 Overview
1.2 Research Question
1.3 Thesis Outline

2. Literature review
2.1 Prologue
2.2 Event Management Defined
2.2.1 Events
2.2.2 Event Management
2.2.3 Types of Events
2.3 The History and Background of Event Management
2.3.1 An Overview
2.3.2 Best practices in Event Management
2.3.3 A Matrix of Best Practices
2.3.4 The Four Pillar Approach
2.3.5 The Synopsis of Best Practices in Event Management into a 5x4 Matrix
2.4 Shortcomings and Aspirations

3. Methodology
3.1 Philosophical Foundations of Research
3.1.1 Qualitative research
3.1.2 Participant observation
3.1.3 Semi-structured interviews
3.1.4 Attendee surveys
3.1.5 Mixed method approaches
3.2 Event Selection
3.3 Data Collection Methods
3.3.1 Interviews
3.3.2 Participant observation
3.3.3 Attendee surveys
3.4 Research Ethics Considerations
3.5 Limitations of the research

4. Findings
4.1 Interviews
4.1.1 The research stage
4.1.2 The design stage
4.1.3 The planning stage
4.1.4 The co-ordination stage
4.2 Participant observation
4.3 Survey results

5. Discussion
5.1 The pillar of time
5.2 The pillar of finance
5.3 The pillar of technology
5.4 The pillar of human resources
5.5 Summary of discussion

6. Conclusion

7. References

8. Appendices
Appendix 1: A Checklist for Site inspection
Appendix 2: Music and Entertainment Terms
Appendix 3: Decor Checklist (Goldblatt, 1997, p. 89)
Appendix 4: Logistics
Appendix 5: Interview Questions
Appendix 5: Participant Observation


Name of candidate: Sven Damm

This Thesis/Dissertation/Research Project entitled: The implications of best practice event management when applied to small-scale local events is submitted in partial fulfilment for the requirements for the Unitec degree of Master of Business.

Candidate’s declaration

I confirm that:

- This Thesis/Dissertation/Research Project represents my own work;
- The contribution of supervisors and others to this work was consistent with the Unitec Regulations and Policies.
- Research for this work has been conducted in accordance with the Unitec Research Ethics Committee Policy and Procedures, and has fulfilled any requirements set for this project by the Unitec Research Ethics Committee.

Research Ethics Committee Approval Number: 2009-970

Candidate Signature: …..Date: …

Student number: 1320273


This thesis is the last piece of work on a two year journey to Unitec, New Zealand. As with most things in life, my experience began with an idea in my head that got shaped through a lot of thinking and through the work I put into it.

Firstly I have to thank my family and friends in Europe who supported me in my decision to travel to New Zealand to work towards my degree even if it meant that I would be away from them for two years. I hope they missed me as much as I missed them during my time in New Zealand and I am looking forward to seeing them again soon.

They gave me the support and guidance to be able to actually work and finish this thesis.

While being in New Zealand and working on my thesis I learned a lot about myself and tested my patience time and time again. At the same time I have to thank all the people who were patient with me and supported me in my work.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my primary supervisor Dr Ken Simpson who kept showing me the forest I am walking in when all I could see were trees. His dedication, contributions, support and guidance is greatly appreciated.

I would also like to thank my secondary supervisor Ed Mason for his contributions and comments.

Additionally I would like to thank all Unitec staff I met during my study. My passionate teachers, Robert Davis, especially for asking me to participate in some great discussions, the staff from the learning centre, the library staff who never got tired of organizing me yet another article, the program administrator Glenis Spencer and last but not least, Cynthia Almeida for every smile and support she willingly offered whenever I entered her office.

Special thanks to: Sabrina, Alena, Rose, Eithu, Ni’qui, Martin and Robin. Without their friendship my life would be worth a lot less. It is great to know you guys.


Event management is a ubiquitous word in modern society. The word is used for small business breakfasts, large corporate shows and also for big international sport events, such as the Olympic Games. We all have an idea of what management is, but what is an event?

An event is often described as something that ‘happens’, and therefore, in that sense, we could use the term event management to describe the organisation of everything that happens. Getz defines an event as ‘an occurrence at a given place; a special set of circumstances; a noteworthy occurrence’(Getz, 2007, p. 18), and this definition embraces a wide range of possibilities with one important thing in common: they can only occur once. As such, one key characteristic of events is that they are not continuous, for they each have a beginning and an end, and every event is different from the last one. “No matter how hard one tries, it is literally impossible to replicate an event” (Getz, 2007, p. 18); thus, when watching the Olympic Games, we do not see the same picture repeating itself every four years, for the event changes and evolves over time. Consequently, to fully understand how things happen within any given event, it is necessary to get involved in the planning and execution of an event.

Malhotra writes that events are an important aspect of human life and that our understanding of them is poorly developed. He thinks that there is a “need to enhance the understanding of the subject” (Malhotra, 2002, p. 179), and this opinion is supported by the relative youth of academic study into the topic. In their book, ‘Festival & Special Event Management’, Allen, O’Toole, Harris and McDonnell (2008) date the birth of the industry to the 1980s, where “several seminal events set the pattern for the contemporary event industry as we know it today” (Allen et al., 2008, p. 9). Thus, especially compared with other disciplines in the field of social science, event management is a young discipline, and there is not yet a huge base of research to work with. In addition, rather than academically rigorous research conducted by professional researchers, much of the knowledge in the field has been generated by practising event managers who have written books about their own experiences, knowledge, and skills (Allen et al., 2008; Catherwood & Van Kirk, 1992; Getz, 2007; Goldblatt, 1997)

It is of no surprise that these practitioners, and the events they discuss, tend to reflect the planning of the biggest events the earth has seen, such as the Olympic Games and US presidential inaugurations. These authors possess a great deal of experience, and their past involvement has generated a variety of different ideas about what constitutes best practice in event management. Consequently, the literature concentrates on events that change not only the local community, but also influence a broad variety of people on earth, from international participants and spectators through to TV broadcasting and internet coverage.

Getz reinforces the distinction between academic researcher and front-line practitioner, commenting that only a few event managers write about their experiences: ‘Speaking as a journal editor, I can say that it has proved close to impossible to get practitioners to contribute research papers or case studies to the refereed, academic literature. The starting point is for practitioners to be reflective, not just focused on the task at hand, and to use this reflection in part to initiate research projects’ (Getz, 2007, p. 354). Getz emphasises that the ties between practitioners and academics are currently loose, and that the field of event management could be significantly improved by both sectors working more closely together.

Ultimately, this thesis combines a range of differing views about best practice and recommended behaviours; it identifies and recommends an event management model that potentially enables small-scale event managers to fully develop the potential of such events. This thesis reduces the gap between theory and practice and the framework of best practices can be applied to significantly improve the quality of management similar events in the future, in Auckland.

List of Tables and Figure

Table 1: Disciplinary Perspectives on Events

Table 2: Major Forces Affecting Event Management

Table 3: Trends and Research Implications

Table 4: Trends in Event Management

Figure 5: The CMM and Bloom’s Taxonomy Intellectual Maturity

Table 6: 5x4 Matrix of Best Practices in Event Management

Table 7: The Four Pillar Approach

Table 8: A Comparison of Findings

Table 9: Catering Checklist

Table 10: The Framework of Best Practices in Event Management

1. Introduction and Context

1.1 Overview

Events have been around forever. The word ‘event’ is derived from the Latin word ‘eventus’ and was originally used to describe big happenings out of the ordinary ("Event," 2009) Today, the concept of events includes a large variety of social gatherings, meetings, sports, shows, and performances. It has become a fashion to use the word ‘event’ for everything that is happening.

In recent years, the number of events has grown rapidly and an industry around events has evolved. This event industry has seen significant growth over the last three decades, which has made it hard to complete an overview of all the facets of events and event management. While several companies in this growing trade have good organizational structures and management processes in place, a rather confusing picture evolves when looking at the entire event industry. Nevertheless, despite that confusing structure remaining in place, the International Special Events Society (ISES) states that the event industry is still one of the world’s fastest growing, economically-lucrative industries, while “in the Western World most of the benefits have been squeezed out of process improvement and neoclassical economics” (Clifton, 2009).

Indeed, the world has been hit hard by the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and many businesses have failed because they had already optimized their processes and were not able to cut down costs to match the lack of international demand. However, a focus on the optimization of internal processes, and a consequent lack of any new business ideas over the past 25 years (Clifton, 2009), is a phenomenon that appears to have passed by the event management industry. Until this crisis, the event industry had not been interested in optimizing its processes nor in utilising its full potential and most businesses in this industry has managed to survive by focusing on cost-saving strategies and opportunities to attract new customers.

Perhaps because of this rather unique status in the modern business world, the field of event management does not include an existing structure of literature that researchers can build upon as a foundation for their work. A scan of the limited literature that does exist highlights a wide range of contrary opinions and the absence of agreed definition, while most research so far has been focused on the description of specific events and on explanation of observations made during that event. Thus, though several authors have mentioned the need for a framework of best practices in event management (William J. O'Toole, 2000; Silvers, Bowdin, O'Toole, & Nelson, 2006), no such framework has yet proven to be sustainable. One consequence of this lack of framework is that it is difficult or even impossible to improve event practitioner performance and to evaluate the people working in the business against any global benchmark. As a result, event management is not given serious consideration as a profession, and it is therefore difficult for the industry to achieve international acknowledgement and reputation.

While event managers working with large scale events can still achieve international recognition for their work, managers of small scale local events do not have any such opportunity, and it is this present status that the current research attempts to investigate. This thesis sets out to explore whether, and how, small scale event managers can improve their performance by using a framework of best practice in event management derived from a range of different sources. The findings, discussion, and recommendations contained in this thesis have resulted from analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each contributing source, and ultimately propose a framework of best practice in event management for small scale local event managers that will assist those managers to enhance the quality of experience for event participants while taking better advantage of growth opportunities for their firms.

This is particularly important because the majority of events around the world are small scale local events, and better usage of their potential could lead to a boost in industry growth that will create economic benefits for the event, the community, and the country. The original research described in this thesis was conducted in New Zealand, a country that has a large variety of small scale events, especially in the tourism sector. This sector is of special interest, as the Rugby World Cup of 2011 will be held in New Zealand and a spectrum of small-scale events will be launched to support this international event. For New Zealand, this is a promising opportunity to generate long term benefits for the entire country through the creation of numerous world class though small-scale events around one big ‘magnet’ event. For this reason alone, it seems worthwhile to conduct research in the field of small-scale event management, in order to determine what constitutes success factors for this industry.

1.2 Research Question

The central question that forms the basis for this research is:

To what extent does a theoretical best practices framework, for the effective management of mega-events, provide optimum guidance for the management of small-scale local events in New Zealand?

In order to thoroughly explore this idea, the following supporting sub-questions were developed to be used as a guideline for the research design. Through detailed investigation of each sub-question, an in-depth exploration of the central research question can be made, thus leading to the desired outcome – the identification of a best practice model that can be implemented in small-scale event management to generate improved value and stronger growth.

- To what extent does an agreed theoretical framework exist to guide the management of large-scale special events?
- To what extent has this framework been tested across a variety of settings?
- What specific challenges are evident in small-scale events that are not present in large-scale events?
- What lessons can managers of small events learn from the experience of big events?

In order to gather necessary data around this topic, the researcher became personally involved in a small-scale and local event, from initial planning stages to eventual event operation. The overall intention was for the researcher to act as a participant observer for, by becoming part of the event management team, he was better able to understand the team’s actions and decisions, and to compare their actual approach to management with the theoretical practises identified in the literature. The results that emerged from this process provide a foundation for a comparison of actual small-scale event management practises with theoretically optimal practises derived from previous observation of large scale events.

1.3 Thesis Outline

The thesis is structured around three main content sections. In the first section the literature is reviewed, in the second section the methodology and research design is illustrated, and in the last section the findings are discussed and recommendations proposed. This structure has been chosen to make it easier to communicate content to the reader and to distinguish between the intent of each of the sections.

The first section literature review is essential for a clear understanding of the topic. It contains a variety of definitions taken from a range of differing literatures, and investigates those topics that have been variously held to be important indicators to the successful management of events. The review concludes by identifying a potentially useful model by which to assess event management effectiveness.

The second section of the thesis introduces the research methodology and design process used, on the commonly understood principle that the approach to the conduct of research is critically important in determining the results obtained and recommendations offered. Thus, the paradigmatic approach used in this research is explained and justified in the light of the main implications involved, and the process used to gather data fully described.

The third section of this thesis presents the outcomes of the research, reached through application of researcher analysis and interpretation to draw conclusions and make recommendations that include:

- Critical analysis of the approaches and decisions made by event staff, and evaluation of their effectiveness in the light of theoretical recommendations.
- Comparison of similarities and differences between the planning and execution of small and mega events.
- Presentation of a best practice framework for smaller, local events.

At the end of this research, the existing body of knowledge about best practice in large-scale event management has been tested through application to a small-scale local event in New Zealand. The implications and lessons learned during the test extend the existing knowledge about small-scale local events, and the knowledge thus gained can be used to improve the performance of such events around the world.

2. Literature review

2.1 Prologue

Davies and Brown (2000) write that “festivals and events are special times in people’s lives, they give us the opportunity to go outside normal experiences for a cultural, social or leisure experience” (p. 169). The public use of the word ‘event’ does not necessarily concur with the scientific use of it (Loos, Hermes, & Thomas, 2008). The literature available is mostly not concerned about defining the word event prior to undertaking research in the field, which leads to communication gaps and misunderstandings.

To prevent common misunderstandings this literature review defines, discusses and structures the comparatively young industry of event management. It starts with the origin of the word ‘event’ and the industry of event management, followed by the importance, the influencing factors and the skills of people within the industry. The last part of the literature review is devoted to a framework of best practices in event management. The outcome of the literature review is a base to work from throughout the thesis and beyond.

2.2 Event Management Defined

2.2.1 Events

The word ‘event’ is derived from the Latin word ‘eventus’ which means “outcome, result. success.” Further research into the etymology of the word ‘eventus’ on ("Event," 2009) describes the line of descent as the following: Eventus is derived from the Latin word eventum (occurrence, event, issue), which is derived from the Latin word evenire (come out, it happens, it turns out), which is derived from the Latin word venire (to come, go for sale).

This line of descent gives the conclusion that originally an event is an occurrence, something that happens. The first mentioned definition in the English speaking world originates from Robert Jani in 1955. Jani said that “a special event is that which is different from a normal day of living” (Jani, 1955, in Goldblatt, 2005, p. 6). Since then, written sources have not settled on a single generally accepted definition of events.

Getz (1997) defines events as “temporary occurrences, either planned or unplanned” (p. 4). To describe the difference between unplanned and planned events, the word event is preceded by the word ‘special’, to indicate a human element; therefore a special event is a “one-time or infrequently occurring event outside a normal program” (Getz, 1997, p. 4). Due to the human element of planning and managing, events have been growing rapidly and have become bigger and bigger.

For the purpose of the thesis and with regards to the event industry we will use the term special event to describe a planned, temporary occurrence that is outside the daily routine of people. To shorten the spelling, the term special event will be abbreviated to event.

2.2.2 Event Management

Management has its roots in the Latin word ‘manidiare’, which is derived from the Latin word ‘manus’ (hand, fist, team) ("Management," 2009). The word ‘ management’ is used to describe the activity of organizing a group of people to achieve a desired outcome. In Henri Fayol’s Administration industrielle et generale from 1916 he describes the five principle roles of management in business as planning, organizing, leading, co-ordinate and controlling (usually within a company or a department of the company) to work together (Olum, 2004).

Combining the words ‘event’ and ‘management’ the growing profession of event management emerges. Since Jani’s comment in 1955 events have evolved from a “different from a normal day of living” (Jani, 1955, in Goldblatt, 2005) to professionally managed high profile events such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA Soccer World Cup.

For determined people who want to work in the sector a lot of challenges and opportunities are awaiting. With the fast growth of the event industry, there has been growing demand for greater collaboration between academia and event practitioners to increase the uptake of research findings (Getz, 2000; Neale, 2000) and to develop professionals that will be able to handle the challenges of the industry in the future (Arcodia & Barker, 2003; Mc Cabe, 2001).

Today there are studies on Congress Management, Corporate Events, Management of fairs and exhibitions, Trade Fair Marketing and Development, Strategic Communication, Event projects Budgeting, Financing and Controlling of Events. The growth in the field of event management is continuing in all areas, such as academic, credential, knowledge transfer and qualifications, however according to Goldblatt (2000) “the rapid growth of the event management profession has produced a climate that is confusing, lacking in credibility and compared to other professions, and perhaps detrimental to its future long term health.” (p. 2)

2.2.3 Types of Events

To handle the confusion Arcodia & Barker (2003) have categorised events into three main groups which are business events, cultural events and sporting events. Business events include conferences and trade fairs, while cultural events include festivals and exhibitions. The sporting games are the last group and include the Olympic Games, soccer world cups, car races and many other sporting events. These groupings seem to be appropriate as they encompass all sorts of events and allow the researcher to give the audience a more specific, categorised overview of events.

2.3 The History and Background of Event Management

Event management is, compared to other fields of social sciences, a relatively new field. Academic research into the field of event management has not started until about 15 years ago. In 1994 Getz & Wick’s examined global trends in event management and summarized the situation of the event industry with the following quote: “Festival and Event practitioners belong to a new and rapidly growing career field. As with other emerging quasi-professions, the managers, marketers and co-ordinators occupying full-time positions have organized professional associations and are seeking certification. Those wishing to enter the field look to the associations, and increasingly to formal educational institutions, to provide appropriate certificates which will hopefully ensure access to the better jobs. As well, numerous volunteers are seeking recognition for their efforts and skills. Consequently, the situation is somewhat unclear and constantly evolving” (p. 103) .

Regardless of the description of event management to be used, it is obvious that “planned events have significantly changed in volume, size, scope, and quality since Jani issued this definition (in 1954)” (Goldblatt, 2000, p. 3). Getz & Wicks concluded their research by saying that “there are clear technical skills for event management, but less convincingly can there be said to exist theories of event management” (1994, p. 108).

In 1996, Perry, Foley & Rumpf conducted research at the Australian Events Conference in Canberra and identified ten knowledge areas and attributes required to be successful in the event industry: project management, budgeting, time management, relating to media, business planning, human resource management, marketing, contingency management, obtaining sponsorship and networking. Those skills were categorized in the five domains legal/finance, management, public relations/marketing, economic/analytical and ethical/contextual, to create a knowledge base for future event managers. These skills seem to be a contentious issue, as vision, leadership, adaptability and high organizational skills were named by the same managers as the essential attributes to be successful in the field (Perry et al., 1996).

Subsequent to the research above, Harris & Jago (1999) suggested that the following knowledge should also be transferred in event management training:

- History and meanings of festivals, celebrations, rituals and other events
- Historical evolution, types of events
- Trends in demand and supply
- Motivations and benefits sought from events
- Roles and impacts of events in society, the economy, environment and culture
- Who is producing events and why?
- Program concepts and styles
- Event settings
- Operations unique to events
- Management unique to events
- Marketing unique to events (Harris & Jago, 1999, p. 46)

While a common knowledge base could not be supported at the research, a high level of education of the professionals within the event industry has been identified with over 60% having a degree and 25% having post grad qualifications. Despite these seemingly impressive figures, “only 12% had qualifications in the event field” (Royal & Jago, 1998, p. 224).

Comparing today’s course outlines for event managers at Unitec New Zealand, BIZ, Germany, and other universities, a common base of knowledge included in the subjects of event management cannot be determined. It becomes remarkable truth that obviously no generally accepted common base has evolved out of the suggestions of the various researches that has been conducted over the last 15 years.

Harris & Jago (1999) surveyed Australian Universities and discovered another obstacle. Most Universities do not create an event program, but rather add single courses or electives to already existing programs. This method enhances the understanding of the event field within students of other fields, but it does not support event practitioners in the field and it does not create enough research on the topic of event management.

One of the reasons is that not all researchers agree on the necessity of long term event management training as appealed for by Harris & Jago (1999), they do prefer short courses where knowledge is mediated in seminars and applied straight away. Goldblatt (1997, 2000) goes a step further when he writes that the measure of professional knowledge and capability cannot be represented by a university degree. Arcodia & Barker’s (2003) suggestion to employ highly trained and experienced individuals to educate the future event managers has to overcome the obstacle that there is no common base to compare with the knowledge of these professionals.

Despite the variety of literature about event management, Erber (2002) and Holzbauer (2003) both emphasize that the core elements of event management in the past often only entail organizational and controlling measures as part of the event execution. Loos (2008) objects this assessment and highlights that the definition would exclude the integrative tasks of management with decision making options. He describes event management as “the coordination of all the tasks and activities necessary for the execution of an event regarding its strategy, planning, implementation, and control, based on the principles of event marketing and the methods of project management” (Loos et al., 2008, p. 54).

In view of the current state of affairs, the conclusion of Getz & Wicks from 1994, as mentioned at the beginning of this section, has not lost its actuality and validity. Harris, Jago Allen & Huyskens (2000) are sharing the same opinion and think “to determine the current state of research within the events field is not necessarily an easy task. Even though the area is still largely ‘virgin territory’ from a research perspective there is still, both globally and in an Australian context, a not insubstantial number of reports/articles/thesis etc dealing with events” (p. 24)

Nelson (2004) researched the “Sociological Theories of Career Choice: A Study of Workers in the Special Events Industry” for her PhD and discovered several traits and qualities that people in the industry have in common. Surprisingly, most of the interviewed practitioners did not plan to work in the event industry but were into it introduced by chance. Despite their dissimilarity in education all of the practitioners share one common trait: they are open to new ideas.

Nelson’s key findings were:

- Even in the real world business arena, post career entry, event professionals tend to relay stories about continuing to make business decisions on a visceral level.
- People who stay in the industry feel lucky to work on something that they are passionate about every day
- Event professionals suffer from particular career challenges, such as long working hours, reduced employee benefits - but they are only minor considerations regarding career entry
- Event professionals feel connection with “making dreams come true” – building a dream for somebody else
- “Predominant decision-making factors used when choosing a career in the special events overwhelmingly supports Social Identity Theory. The highest rated factors included interesting work, opportunity for self-expression, and freedom of action. Therefore, the tie between occupation and identity (personal values) would seem to be apparent among special event workers, and supports Turner’s view of a role-person merger where the role is deeply merged with the person and socialisation in that role affects personality formation” (Turner, 1978 in Nelson, 2004, p. 46)

Nelson (2004) summarized the key findings as practitioners in the field feel “extremely lucky to be able to work at something every day that they love” (p. 50)

The client/provider relationship was identified as the main challenge within in the industry. With a strong sense of helping others, a passion for the industry and a lot of pride in excellence in their work, event managers overcome those obstacles and create value (Nelson, 2004).

While event managers have a lot of pride in the excellence of their work they were not enthusiastic to engage in theoretical research about strategies further improving the excellence within the entire event industry. There are several assumptions about the reasons behind it:

- Most of the people in the industry did not plan to work on events and therefore they did not engage in theoretical event studies
- The event industry offers only reduced employee benefits and hardly any benefit are expected from engaging into research
- Theoretical knowledge does not reflect the level of expertise within the event industry and event managers concentrate on gaining practical knowledge
- The long working hours within the event industry prevents people from doing additional work
- The event field is wide spread and some literature would only be relevant to a small portion of the industry

The multiple views on event management and the different perceptions of the people working and researching within the event industry has prevented the industry to come up with globally accepted standards for events.

Furthermore, the discrepancy between the aims of the different stakeholders has prevented the introduction of standardised processes and hindered the introduction of a widely accepted event management information system until today. Partial solutions have been introduced but their propagation has been limited due to these same factors.

Still, special events have evolved to the point where their number, scale and variety, combined with their associated economic, social and cultural impacts, demand attention from researchers (Harris et al., 2000, p. 22).

2.3.1 An Overview

The growth within the event industry shows that people have been successful in consistently creating bigger and better events, however the lack of widely accepted standardised processes in the industry leaves the question of how this is achieved in dispute.

The event industry has to face the same global actualities other industries have to deal with as well. Getz (2000b) investigated how the global actualities in 2000 influenced the event industry and what perspectives were arising. His findings are presented in the following table:

Table 1: Disciplinary Perspectives on Events

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten(Getz, 2000b, p. 14)

To get a better understanding of the realities and how the perspectives would change the event industry he went on and investigated how the forces in 2000 influenced the implementation of the perspectives and the focus of people within the event industry. To better understand the forces he pioneered in coming up with research implications to deal with the upcoming topics professionally. The following table depicts the actualities and the resulting research implications.

Table 2: Major Forces Affecting Event Management

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten(Getz, 2000b, p. 16)

With the current trends and the challenges arising in the event industry there is a high demand for creative managers who add value to the events while matching the ideas of the client with those of the organisation (Bilton & Laery, 2002). The globalisation and the ease of travel nowadays, combined with the developments in technology, it is becoming more important to continuously educate students and event managers. The Meeting Professionals International (MPI), one of the leading industry associations, has introduced an ‘Excellence Strategy’ in 2003 which classifies competencies for professionals in the meeting and event field. One critical part is the identification of key knowledge, expertise and capability. In 2003 the Global Paragon was awarded for the demonstration of value through measuring meetings by their ROI (return on investment)(Nichols, 2003). One of the jury members described the value added by the winner the following way: “Across the board, what set the winners apart was that they set goals for themselves, then structured them in such a way that they could measure them and understand exactly where they stood in terms of their successes and failures afterwards” (Zielinski in Nichols, 2003, p. 1).

Getz (2000b) analysed the global trends and challenges and how they affect the event industry. To deal with the upcoming trends he suggested research topics to focus on. The table underneath depicts his findings and recommendations.

Table 3: Trends and Research Implications

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten(Getz, 2000b, p. 17)

It is unquestionable that events have become a significant part of our lives, and there are several trends that lead to the supposition that the event industry, if managed correctly, has prospects of further expansion. Goldblatt (2000) predicts that with the growing age of the world’s population there will be a significant increase in celebrations. The requirements for all events will increase with the innovation of technology and the desire for ‘high-touch experiences’. His predictions from 2000 for the year 2010 have become partly truth and therefore his predictions for the years to follow are worth serious consideration.

Table 4: Trends in Event Management

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Goldblatt, 2000, p. 8)

One major obstacle to prepare the event industry for the upcoming challenges is the existence of lots of different stakeholders for every event and each brings their own individual views and considerations. As a consequence, “the design of event management processes, as well as the systematic development of supportive information systems have not occurred” (Loos et al., 2008, p. 39). Harris, Jago Allen and Huyskens (2000) summarize the dilemma of event management:

“Practitioners and Associations, as would be expected, are primarily interested in research associated with generating funds, namely, sponsorship, as well as the needs of different consumer segments. Government is more interested in economic and risk factors as well as the ability to compare different events. Academics tend to be more interested in macro issues such as strategy, value of the industry, destination image and urban revival” (p. 27).

To trial the maturity of event management as a profession the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) gives valuable insights. The Capability Maturity Model depicts the processes and procedures rather than the artistic outcome o an event and therefore it shows the maturity of the system rather than the outcome of the system (Bamberger, 1997). While the outcome of an event might be positive, it might not be possible to apply the same processes and procedures to other events. As a result, the Capability Maturity Model depicts the immaturity of the event management profession with the lack of formalization, standardization, accountability, and continuous improvement practices (Silvers, 2003).

Silvers (2003) went one step further and compared the levels of the CMM with Bloom’s Taxonomy, a 1956 developed classification of levels of intellectual behaviour with regards to learning. She concluded that “the hierarchy of maturity for performing organizations and individuals is practically parallel” (Silvers, 2003). The following illustration shows the comparisons:

Figure 5: The CMM and Bloom’s Taxonomy Intellectual Maturity

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Silvers, 2003)

Today, more training opportunities are increasing the percentage of people who have a degree relevant to their event occupation. Without a generally accepted body of knowledge the variety of studies in the field of event management is enormous and support the arguments of McCabe (2001) and Neale (2000), who find it necessary to create a body of knowledge; to ensure professionalism and to educate managers in the field to handle current and future challenges within the industry, as depicted above.

This goes in hand with Goldblatt’s three essential elements of a profession. As illustrated at the end of the last section they are a common body of knowledge, established and maintained standards and a code of conduct (Goldblatt, 1996 in Royal & Jago, 1998). At this stage we can recapitulate that the literature does not support the existence of the first two elements.

This is consistent with the research of Arcodia & Reid (2002), who identified a need to further develop and educate event professionals to ensure professionalism. In addition to education, Arcodia & Barker (2003) suggest that improved collaboration between academics and practitioners is needed. Academics and practitioners are falling short of their potentials because they are not working in close partnership, and the future success of the event field will depend greatly on its ability to realise its own potential.

The next section will go one step further and give a picture of best practices in event management.

2.3.2 Best practices in Event Management

The history of best practices in event management begins in 1992, when a Canadian consortium introduced a set of ‘occupational competency standards’ with consideration towards administration, risk management, management skills, marketing, interpersonal skills and HRM (Harris & Jago, 1999). In 1996 Perry, Foley and Rumpf (1996) conducted the first research in Australia (and the first for the southern hemisphere). They attempted to identify event organisers’ training and education requirements and came up with the following key knowledge areas:

- Legal / financial
- Management
- Public relations / marketing
- Economic / analytical
- Ethical / contextual

This research assumed that a good knowledge base about the best practices in the above fields would lead to a successful career in the field. Other research disproved the findings. Getz and Wicks (1994) confirmed that “management theory and skills are essential, but their application... requires adaptation similar to that required for recreation management. And because there is so much variety among event types and settings, it can be argued that only generic concepts can be taught, with experience providing the detail” (p. 108). Their research identified energy and ambition as the key success factors within the event industry.

On top of energy and ambition, creativity has been identified by various sources as key to creating exceptional events. Creativity is the part that makes an event unique and distinguishes it from previous ones organized by the same manager, company or organization. A lot of research has mentioned the importance of creativity while planning events (Allen et al., 2008; Bilton & Laery, 2002; Fabling & Grimes, 2007; Getz & Wicks, 1994; Silvers et al., 2006) but none of them attempted to create a framework for best practices in the area. It is reasonable to assume that artistic expression is hard to measure and therefore difficult to put into a framework, but it is nevertheless a worthwhile venture.

Slivers et al. (2006) continue in the same vein when they write that the combination of “creativity, strategic thinking, continuous improvement, ethics and integration are the values that must permeate all decisions throughout event management regarding every element, phase, and process” (p. 192), and only have to be adjusted to the needs of different cultural conditions.

One of the obstacles that research into best practices in event management has to face is that funding is mostly given for the investigation of the social, economic and cultural effects of events. Sponsors, especially governments, are more likely to invest in continuous events when the research shows that the event has a positive impact on the community. Consequently, “less research has been focused on special events operational management” (Hede, Jago, & Deery, 2002, p. 322). At the same time, governments are influencing the execution of events by devising laws and acts in order to limit the negative influences of events. With the lack of international or even national standards for the evaluation of events, the event environment is becoming more complex and regulated, as every town, city, community, country, and continent has different laws in place, and it is hard for professionals to maintain a synopsis.

It can be argued that event managers are artists and that it is their conscious decision to continue their dynamic and creative way of doing things (Meusburger, Funke, & Wunder, 2009) rather than supporting the creation of “reliable, disciplined and consistent systems” (Colline, 2001, in Silvers et al., 2006, p. 192) which could transform the current ‘people-dependent’ system into a ‘system dependent’ system (Gerber, 1995, in Silvers et al., 2006, p. 193).

The confusion the current situation is producing results in the lack of respect and value for the industry along with limitations to the funding and support by officials (Goldblatt, 2000). It can be expected that the creation of an effective quality assurance system would improve the quality of the individuals within the industry and would allow for the creation of standard terminology to be used for events and festivals (Arcodia & Robb, 2000). It would clearly change the focus of the research from economic and marketing concentrations to standards and frameworks. The industry could ameliorate from an immature occupation to a well-established, highly-respected profession through the creation of a conceptual framework to recap present knowledge and best practises for event professionals.

Every city and town around the world has the potential to host events. For locations who want to tap into the future growth of the event industry and who want to be continuously successful in doing so, it is imperative to handle their assets properly. Melbourne is an excellent example for a destination that successfully implemented its events strategy early on and created value on a national basis while managing its potential with care and determination. The first business plan of Tourism Victoria in 1993 (Strategic business plan, 1993) identified the priority of developing and attracting special events and subsequently repeated the importance in the next business plan in 1997 (Strategic business plan 1997 - 2001, 1997).

The city tapped its ability to host successful special events and was host of the World Police and Fire Games, the Formula One Grand Prix, the Australian Open, the Melbourne Cup and uncountable smaller events (Royal & Jago, 1998).The strategic plan to attract events has not only led to the hosting of those events, it has also attracted a large number of professionals to live and work in the city. The City of Melbourne introduced networking opportunities to tap the knowledge of its citizens and to find ways to attract more visitors to the city. The combined knowledge and political backup has led to a vibrant event environment that is thriving.

Melbourne’s economy has gained largely from the professional management of its event environment. The public and the private sector are working together for the benefits of all stakeholders. The city is one of only a few examples around the world where best practices for the attraction and hosting of events have been established with all the benefits coming with it.

With the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Australian Open tennis on its calendar, the city hosts two of the major events of the Southern Hemisphere, ensuring that the image of the city is continuously displayed worldwide. Following the success of Melbourne, cities all over Australia have attempted to compete for world class events, and event management “has emerged to become a key sector of the Australian tourism industry” (Arcodia & Barker, 2003, p. 2). The drawback of the momentary fast growth of the event industry is that it was not organic, but rather erratic and “has produced a climate that is confusing, lacking in credibility as compared to other professions, and perhaps detrimental to its future long term health” (Goldblatt, 2000, p. 2). Nevertheless, the economic benefits of hosting events make them worth taking a chance on, even though globalisation has made the staging of global events more competitive than ever. An example of this would be the bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, won by Rio de Janeiro.

Baum and Lockstone (2007) have noted that “interest in all aspects of the politics, financing, planning, management and operation of mega sporting events has been highlighted both by success stories and ongoing problems associated with Olympic Games, Football World Cups and other similar events. There is a growing literature that addresses these and related matters through both case history and comparative analyses” (p. 29). There is also an increase literature about the impacts of events on cities, communities and countries (Hiller, 1995; Jones, 2001; Kim & Petrick, 2005; Lee, Lee, & Lee, 2005). The Soccer World Cup in South Korea, in particular, was researched a lot, but the research provided “little that is definitive to guide policy makers and politicians along a path of certainty in their decision making in this area” (Baum & Lockstone, 2007, p. 30). This statement indicates that there is a lack of decision making guidance for policy makers and politicians when deciding on the realization and support of an event. To support the decision makers and to get political support from them, it can be argued that a framework of best practices for event management could be of value. The framework would guide the event team and make the outcome of any event more predictable.

In the current economic climate in particular, money for events is limited and clients are reducing funding to events and demanding more securities for the events they are planning with regards to the outcome for the companies. Until the early 2000’s research focused on economic evaluations after the event (Clarke, 2004), since was necessary to find indicators to measure performance against before research could, in the next step, find indicators to use to evaluate the event prior to its execution.

In 2008, Loos, Hermes and Thomas highlighted the importance of evaluations during the planning of events to achieve sustainability. They voiced for the introduction of risk management and controlling within all stages of the event; a clear indicator that there is no framework at the moment.

Goldblatt (2000) asks for a pilot project to be introduced for a three year period to test the viability of different processes and reach a framework of best practices. This study will not fulfil his request to the full extent; however, the next section will attempt to come up with a framework of best practices based on Goldblatt’s recommendations in his book: Best Practices in Modern Event Management (1997) and test the framework against current practices in New Zealand.

So far we have concluded that, at this stage, that there is no agreed theoretical framework to guide the management of large-scale special events and consequently a framework has not been tested until today. To answer the third and fourth sub-questions it is necessary to create a framework of best practices of event management. Given the scarcity of referenced journal articles on this subject, the literature foundations for this venture are necessarily focused on books written about the topic, and here it is clearly possible to note the distinction between those written by practitioners and those written by academics. Practitioners tend to focus on the design, planning and coordination of the event rather than the theories that underpin its management – for example, Tum, Norton and Wright (2006) have a clear emphasis on the importance of time, risk, and supply chain management, while Goldblatt (1997) focuses on the design and creation of an overall event environment.

2.3.3 A Matrix of Best Practices

An extensive literature review has identified various options to create a framework. The most appropriate option was found in Goldblatt’s (1997) Special Events: Best practices in Modern Event Management where Goldblatt identified four essential pillars of event management which he defined as time, finance, technology and human resources. These pillars can be combined with the slightly modified five principle roles of management in business as identified in Henri Fayol’s Administration industrielle et generale as planning, organizing, leading co-ordinating and controlling (Olum, 2004) . For the purpose of the research the five management processes of research, design, plan, co-ordinate and evaluate will be used to create a 5x4 matrix (Arcodia & Robb, 2000; Bartholomew, 2002; Hinch & Higham, 2001; Tum et al., 2006).

Combining the management processes and the pillars the following matrix emerges:

Table 6: 5x4 Matrix of Best Practices in Event Management

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The combination of Goldblatt’s (1997) pillars and the five management processes created a 5x4 matrix that will was used to build a framework of best practices in event management. The framework was enriched and improved through an extensive literature review about best practices in various elements of events. The result is a synopsis of the available knowledge of best practices in event management presented in a framework of best practices for the first time ever.

As everything that is created for the first time, the framework has its limitations as there is no international consensus on best practices and it can only be used as a foundation to start with. Other researchers are invited to expand, improve and comment on it. With the large variety of events it is understood that the framework cannot be too narrow, as it would limit the creativity of practitioners, neither can it be too broad, as the value of the framework would be limited. The framework attempts to link depth and breadth of the topic.

Before the framework can be filled with the synopsis of the available literature on best practices, it is essential to define the four pillars and five management processes that build the structure of the 5x4matrix to ensure a common base of understanding.


Most special events start with an idea. Someone wants to create an event and has a vague idea what it could or should be like. Research is the first step to make this idea come true, as it is the search for knowledge about the matter at hand and the starting point for all progress. With a deeper understanding of the past and the current possibilities we can influence and change the future. With a better understanding of the customers and clients needs and wants and the feasibility of these needs and wants, the event manager has a higher chance of achieving the imagined outcome for the event. Research will reduce the risk of not achieving the goals of an event.

The value of research into expectations, needs and desires has been highlighted by various sources, such as PR professionals and marketing experts. Governments go through extensive feasibility analysis before spending any money on products and events. After a first broad research into the idea and its feasibility a project plan is created to give the decision makers a broad idea about the feasibility of an event and a base for supplementary research. It identifies target groups, sets measurable goals (strategic, operative and economic), identifies marketing strategies and stets the structure of the event planning team.


After researching the ‘hard’ fact about an event, design focuses on the creative aspects of an event. Design has to be approached differently than research, as it is not static or predictable. Design is the creative process that makes the event different from other events that have gone before; it gives the event its uniqueness and therefore requires a lot of inspiration and ideas coming from various sources. It is very important for the event manager to support and highlight the importance of ideas coming in from their team. At this stage brainstorming is a very important tool for bringing ideas together to create an outstanding event.

It is important to be clear about the core reason for the event, and make this the centre point around which the discussion revolves. It is also important to create a suitable environment for staff to work creatively, as different individuals often require different approaches to help stimulate ideas. A great deal of experience is required to facilitate successful design meetings with staff members. Once these creative meetings have been held it is important to give structure to the ideas and to compare them with the actual goals and requirements of the event.

An approach to needs assessment, according to Goldblatt (1997, p. 43):

Why? >What is the compelling reason for the event?

>Why must this event be held?

Who? >Who will benefit from the event?

>Who will the client want to attend?

When? >When will the event be held?

>Is the date and time flexible or subject to change?

Where?>What is the best destination, location and venue?

What? >What elements and resources are required to satisfy the needs identified above?

Next to the needs the feasibility of every item has to be checked with regards to finance, human resources and political influences. Depending on the event at hand this can be quite different to other events before as you might rely on volunteer work, expertise, or special people. How to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the people involved is quite an important task as well. They need to function together efficiently.

With the lack of a framework for event management politics has taken over the responsibility to set minimum standards for event professionals. In some nations those standards are quite strict; in other nations the standards are loose and bendable. It is important to approach the right people to get the permits and decisions needed to go ahead with the project.


The planning process is the stage where the quality of the work of the two previous stages becomes palpable. In this stage the requirements from the previous stages will be concretized and customized to the client’s wishes. With good in depth research and an appropriate design the planning can focus on getting the pieces together. The planning stage can be disastrous because in unveils the mistakes from the previous stages and forces the event manager to rethink his research and design.

Depending on the input from the previous stages and the requirements for the event the team will be put together. Team building lessons from project management can be integrated when it comes to big events. Especially mega events will divide the event in smaller projects to be realized by teams. After installing the teams focus can be given to the conceptual options for the event.

There are two main phases involved in this stage: Time & Space

Time refers to the time the event manager has until the event is scheduled to happen. In most cases the date of the event is set and the event manager has to get the event together by then, still, there are times when the event manager can influence the timings to better fit the occasion, weather, schedule, ... In both occasions the timing influences the costs of getting an event together.

Time also refers to the time the event manager has available. When he is working on other events that might be influenced negatively due to time issues the event manager has to evaluate if it is worth taking on the job. Considering how much time the team has put into the research and design of the event has to be balanced with the professional quality the event manager wants to display.

According to Goldblatt (1997) space has two dimensions: The space where the event will be held and the space between critical decisions for the event. Especially the second dimension is closely linked to the timings for the event.

With regards to the venue for the event there are several considerations that should be made before booking the location, such as parking, decoration, atmosphere and others. Atmosphere can be of immense importance as it saves a lot of time when the location does not need a lot of set up time. Loos, Hermes and Thomas (2008) suggest a three-dimensional presentation of the prospected venues to get a better understanding of the aspired result for the event manager and for the client. Goldblatt advises to “use a critical friend – a person whose expertise about the particular event is known to you – to review your plan and specifically search for gaps in your logical thinking” (Goldblatt, 1997, p. 55) . Appendix 1 shows a checklist of considerations when inspecting a possible location.


This stage is the part where the actual event happens. It is the ultimate test of the quality of work done in the previous stages combined with the nature of unpredictability that comes with every event. All the preparations and the planning of the staff will be tested and emphasis will be on short-term problem solving to keep a smooth running of the event.

The coordination stage starts with the dress rehearsal as the last test of the pre event set up and planning. Often the dress rehearsal gives the event manager the opportunity to test his set up and it will identify several challenges that have not been thought of.

There is one main issue the event manager has to consider before the event and stick to it throughout the event: the staffing. Especially big events will not allow the event manager to overview every detail himself. He needs to dichotomise tasks and delegate responsibilities to the most appropriate individuals and trust in his choice.

Evaluation is the task that can be of enormous value for future events. It is a dynamic process that changes with the event and the stakeholders involved. Some events might just require a short debrief while others require an in-depth analysis with a sophisticated outlook of future influencing factors. A good evaluation always starts with feedback of the attendees, since a survey is mostly used form of analysis. Another good way of getting an idea of the satisfaction of guests is the usage of an observer, a person who observes an event with regards to a checklist and offers additional comments.

A relatively new, but highly efficient way of evaluating an event is the pre- and post event survey. It shows the discrepancies between the expectations before the event with the actual delivering of the event. It helps to close gaps that might have gone unnoticed otherwise.

Goldblatt (1997) also advices to seek feedback during the event and stay close to the guests. This will enable the event manager to get an immediate feeling for the satisfaction of the guests and might enable the event manager to influence the outcome of the event.

2.3.4 The Four Pillar Approach

After defining the management processes for the 5x4 matrix of best practices, this section defines the four pillars time, finance, technology and human resources and analyses the best practices within each of the pillars. To achieve the goal of a comprehensive summary a large spectrum of literature has been analysed and compared with regards to best practices.

At the end of this section the reader should have a profound overview about the current literature of best practices in event management.

To simplify the understanding, the best practices have been categorized within the 5x4 matrix as introduced in the last section.

Table 7: The Four Pillar Approach

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Goldblatt, 1997, p. 12)

Time is the most pressing issues when organizing events. Without a good timing events could never run as smooth as most of them do.

The first pillar of event management is ‘time’ with the two categories value of time and critical path.

Value of time

Time is one of the most scare resources of humankind, once invested it is gone. The field of event management is very time consuming and therefore time is a very important consideration. The event manager needs to assess the value of his time and charge it to the event. For example The EDGE®, an Auckland based convention centre, has an event number for every event and staff members are asked to add the event number on their time sheets. Knowing about time is important because it helps analysing the actual costs of an event and it gives staff a limit on the time needed for the planning of an event.

Goldblatt (1997) has identified several best practices for event time management. Next to the importance of knowing the worth of time an event manager needs to limit time wasting activities and get a database of contacts to refer to instantly.

The worth of time allows charging every event with the amount of hours put in and it enables the event manager to limit the time put into time wasting activities. The following suggestions were made:

- Budget the time depending on personal priorities (work, meetings, family,...)
- Determine the worth of your time (place small signs next to the phone and computer)
- Prepare a daily to do list (move unfinished activities to the next day)
- Determine the importance of meetings (cancel them if they are not important)
- Assess if you are the right person to receive phone calls
- Handle e-mails only once
- Organize a written agenda for every business meeting (Good to prepare for the meetings and o get the key points)
- Create a database including a calendar and detailed information about meeting partners to check on them before every meeting.
- Entrust capable assistants with tasks whenever possible.

Critical path is a term taken over from project management. The critical path connects the tasks included in an event and shows how these tasks are related and how long the project will take if all dependent tasks could be undertaken after each other. It then depicts the earliest and latest possible starting time for each task with regards to the dependencies and shows when activities will have to start without influencing the earliest possible finish time.

Finance is the issue that has to be kept in mind. There are several reasons why events are happening, but nearly none of them has an unlimited budget to spend without any income.

The second pillar is ‘finance’ with the aspects overall costs of business, sponsorship and marketing & promotion.

Overall costs of business

There are several ways to organize an event but in every case there has to be an organization or a company behind who the event manager works for. In most cases the event manager works for his own company and signs a contract with a client, company or institution to organize an event. In some cases the event manager works for the organization and realizes the events for the company. Goldblatt (1997) identifies five best practices for the financial success of the company:

- Set realistic short- and long –term financial goals
- Seek professional counsel
- Identify and use efficient technology
- Systematically review financial health
- Control overhead costs (p. 16)

The above identified five best practices are necessary to continuously create great events. They are the backbone of a successful company and ensure that the employees continuously get their money and can focus at the task at hand. Experiencing financial problems is connected with a high level of stress and can lead to the deterioration of a business (Gorgievski, Bakker, Schaufeli, van der Veen, & Giesen, 2009).

Sponsorship can be a very important for the success of an event. All major events around the world have sponsors, companies who support the event in exchange for public exposure. Sponsorship makes an event financially feasible and ensures the quality standards of events. In the research process it requires a lot of time to analyse the needs and requirements of the event and find appropriate sponsors. Therefore it is most common to have sponsors for big events where the work involved justifies the estimated benefits of a sponsor. In the research part the following checklist has to be considered:

- Is the event feasible without a sponsor?
- Is there enough backup for a sponsor?
- Does sponsorship fit to the event?
- Does sponsorship fit to the organization (spirit, legal, ethical)? (Goldblatt, 1997, p. 251)

If the outcome of the research indicates the necessity of a sponsor the second step would be to identify appropriate sponsors and work with them towards the realization of the event. Applied to the five processes of event management this means:


- Examine the extend of required sponsorship
- Research sponsor activities at other events
- Analyse the local market to find prospectus sponsors
- Contact advertising and PR companies to identify possible interest
- Conduct a focus group to scout attitudes toward the event.
- Customize the event to reflect sponsor’s needs and objectives.


- Qualify the sponsors through profound research
- Apply sponsor’s action pan
- Reconsider sponsor’s changes and additions
- Implement the changes and update sponsor


- Ensure visibility of sponsor
- Evaluation

After the event it is essential to meet with sponsor to evaluate the success of the event and assess further projects (Goldblatt, 1997).

Marketing & Promotion

The modern age has made the marketing and promotion for an event even harder, as people are exposed to an ever increasing number of publicity through an increasing mix of channels. A study conducted by Gitelson and Kerstetter (Gitelson & Kerstetter, 2000 in Smith, 2008) emphasizes the potential complexity of promotions for events. The findings indicated that local people would use the newspaper as source of information while nonlocal people would refer to local friends and relatives for information. For both groups previous experience was the main source of information.

Surprisingly Smith (2008) concluded that for most promotions past experience was more important than effectiveness of the channels. Research was only conducted past the event with the limited amount of information available from ticketing agents and event manager’s observations.

“Promotional channels such as radio, television, newspapers, magazines, posters and banners, were all significant in raising awareness of the event, but not highly rated as the most important source of information. Internet was not highly used despite all the events having a dedicated website and the three ticketed events having online booking available through their ticketing agent. Media sources tended to be supplementary information sources” (Smith, 2008, p. 30)

In his conclusion he highlights the importance of understanding the information sources used by attendees and the way they make their decisions. For example, “access to attractions by public transport and on foot is of greater importance to overseas visitors at urban destinations than access by private car” (Thompson & Schofield, 2002, p. 41).

Ralston, Ellis, Compton & Lee (2007) emphasize the importance of word of mouth as the most trusted and most efficient way of marketing any city, agency or event. Most industries have the advantage that they can market their products in relation to other products, because people know similar products to compare them with. Events are different. Every event is unique and therefore it is hard to compare events with previous or other events. The tendency to create bigger and better events every time increases the difficulty of comparison.

Even mega events require a promotional strategy to ensure that all events and ideas connected to the event will be successful. The FIFA soccer world cup in Germany 2006 was highly successful because the organizers introduced and professionally managed large public viewing areas in nearly every German city. Media people broadcasted from the best parties around the country and enhance the atmosphere around the event. The public viewing concept was also highly profitable and inspiring.

The information mix for events has been heavily researched and the two main distinctions are free access events and ticketed events. For free events the distribution of information is highly important. Ticketed events require far more work than only providing information, they also have to deal with reservations and payment issues. These factors “influence the structure, operation, and effectiveness of event distribution channels” (Smith, 2008, p. 35). Goldberg (1997)has created a checklist for promotions to ensure that a high quality event will not be the best kept secret in the world:


- “Identify all event elements that require promotion from the proposal through the final evaluation


- Develop strategies for allocating scarce event promotion resources with efficient methods


- Identify promotion partners to share costs
- Carefully target your promotion to those market segments that will support the event

Evaluation (throughout the event)

- Measure and analyze your promotion efforts throughout the campaign to make corrections as required” (Goldblatt, 1997, p. 231)

Technology is the single most important issue when creating an event. Modern technologies allow us to communicate with people around the world, get information and do the research necessary to evaluate the chances of an event.

The third pillar is ‘technology’ with the sub categories overall code of conduct, entertainment, communication, benchmarking and location.

Overall code of conduct

The Greek origin tells us that technology is the study of the craft. There are many crafts in the World and therefore technology is a broad concept, but it can be applied to the specific area of event management.

First, and most importantly, technology can be used within the event company to accelerate processes and efficiently enter data such as financial spreadsheets, customer information and latest requests. It also enables a company to charge expenses straight to an event instead of creating a large amount of overhead costs.

Goldblatt (1997) identified several best practices for event management technology that are independent of the event processes:

- Spot the technology needs within your company
- Evaluate and acquire appropriate technology
- Establish technology in collaboration with your employees
- Periodically investigate requirements for professional work and adjust new technology


Entertainment is a part of every event. People come to events to divert themselves from their daily life and expect amusement and attractions to get out of their routine and experience something new. Entertainment is the most common purpose of events, and recreation, that is, being active as part of the diversion, might be included in some events.

Entertainment becomes a priority during design process, as the event team has to determine how they want to achieve the goal of the client and what kind of entertainment they will provide. As there are a variety of events the resources have to be analysed first:


- Investigate the history of the event and determine the size of the live audience.
- Determine the importance of entertainment and technology for the goal of the event


- Consult the stakeholders to ascertain their tastes and analyse the audience with regards to education, age, cultural background, learning style, previous experience and likings and identify appropriate entertainment
- Inspect the venue to see how your entertainment could be realized and whether available onsite resources will be sufficient
- Change perspectives and imagine the event as a guest. Evaluate how the guest would experience the entertainment and if your resources are enough to bewitch every guest (Goldblatt, 1997), because “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (Arthur C. Clark in Schneiderhahn, 2002, p. 1)

The process of planning the entertainment is relatively straightforward once the design has been finished. For the interested reader appendix 2 will depict how to effectively manage the entertainment after the design has been completed and give the overview of the technical terms within entertainment.


There are several recipients of communication and an effective and efficient communication strategy is essential for the success of an event.

During the research process the target audience has to be distinguished and the needs of that market segment have to be analyzed; in particular, the most common information channel used by the target audience must be determined. Smith (2008) highlights the importance of information sources for any event. Uncertainty obstructs people from going to an event and the basic event information needs to be conveniently available. A properly managed communication strategy is important for building customer loyalty and ensuring continuing success.

Virtual communities are a frequently used source of information and have great potential to reach a large group of people, but the use of these communities should be based on the traditional PR model, where an official statement is released first and people can refer to it all the time (Beaven & Laws, 2008). This ensures clarity from the beginning.

With the growth of an events company the distribution of event information is becoming more significant and manifold at the same time. One way of managing and developing relationships with potential visitors is through membership databases. For smaller companies friend groups or information from ticket agents are vital sources means of disseminating information.

Smith (2008) emphasized the importance of on-the-day information sources. He looked at the Wellington Dragon Boat Festival and discovered that about 20% of spectators learned about the event by passing by which led him to the assumption that other information sources were not used.

Shanka and Taylor (2004) conducted correspondence analysis to investigate the information sources of festival visitors. The analysis discovered that there is a discrepancy of information used between local residents and non-residents as non residents would prefer road signs and newspapers ad while locals rely on word-of mouth advertisement.



ISBN (eBook)
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UNITEC New Zealand – Department of Management and Marketing, Master of Business
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Titel: The implications of best practice event management when applied to small-scale local events