The nature of the event industry is multifaceted, which requires organisers to develop interactive strategies to satisfy the needs of visitors using various creative but focused approaches. For instance, trying to acquire significant benefit while organising large-scale events without the appropriate focus on its content, intended impact and public engagement is unlikely to bring any social or economic benefit.
It is also important considering how events will fit specific industry structures in terms of mutual appeal, suggesting that various public layers might perceive event content, size and objectives differently (Park and Park, 2017). Therefore, this report provides a theoretical overview of the event management concept supplied with a practical application of event planning based on the imaginative case of the local or community size category.
Industry Environment Audit
Theoretical studies related to event analysis and associated definitions emerged from the early 1990s, when researchers attempted to clarify what exactly encompasses an event and its characteristics. During the recent decades, it resulted in separating events by the size categories and content classifications, deriving from the earlier remark by Getz (2007) on extending the functional attributes of planned and unplanned events. Furthermore, as events became more complex in nature, the common purposes of gaining economic benefits, creating positive images and improving social integration were investigated to meet event relevance to stakeholder interests (Shone and Parry, 2013). Respectively, events are also distinguished by the sectors they occur in, which in its turn leads to formulation of distinct internal and external impacts.
Events by Size Categories
There are four major event types that could be classified by size categories. The first type is mega event, which contextually suggests that the event is major in its size, can be either recurring or limited in time, and primarily pursues an objective of creating awareness, improving industry profitability, and appealing to the interests of regular visitors (Getz, 1997; Wan and Song, 2019). In their nature, mega events were initially considered as the most suitable for the tourism industry, while further explorations suggested that the attributes of international reputation and audience attraction over the world are also significant (Shone and Parry, 2013).
It was also argued that mega events are perceived differently by actors involved, where organisers see mega events as those occurring outside of normal scope of event choices because of the sponsorship constraints (Getz, 2007). Meanwhile, visitors see it as an opportunity to receive new experiences in leisure or social activities since such events extend the common range of recreation choices (Hummel, 2018). Some of the brightest examples of mega events are found in sports industry, including Football World Cups or Olympic Games held in different locations.
The second type of the event in the described category is a hallmark event. Similarly to the previous category, these events are large in size, while also distinguished by the symbolic and authentic features of quality and distinctions (Getz, 1997). Hallmark occasions are also recurring, while their focus is made on specific communities and destination management as a part of resourceful image and branding. According to Muller (2015), hallmark events could be also seen as a subset of mega events, where high status and prestige is considered as a starting point for planning and communication to the crowd.
Considerably, such event types are expensive to execute, require major media coverage, and lead to elevated demands for the quality of services (Raj, Walters and Rashid, 2009). Therefore, hallmark events are tightly linked to the tourism industry, with some of the notable examples of Rio de Janeiro Carnival, the Tour de France, and Oktoberfest in Germany held on a recurring basis, while eventually postponed or limited during the travel restrictions in 2020.
In terms of size categories, the third type of the analysed artifacts is a major event. The scale, media interest and coverage, economic benefits, and visitor attraction are the main requirements for classifying an event as major (Bowdin et al., 2006). However, unlike mega or hallmark events, major events are smaller in size and are primarily focused on regional coverage and annual recurrence, while are still focused on attracting participants worldwide.
In sport, major events suggest the need for competition among teams to better represent national prosperity, attract significant but reasonable public interest in terms of event capacity, and establish a significance of demonstrated activities. Considerably, major events are less connected to leisure and tourism at their initial stages of establishment, while mostly relate to demonstrating cultural potential of the specific region and its capabilities to develop international recognition.
Finally, local events occupy the bottom of the portfolio level. They could be defined as community or culturally oriented entertainment efforts that promote authenticity on the regional level, while mostly not exploited as the opportunities to develop tourism as a constituent (Getz and Page, 2016). In some cases, local events such as Scottish Highland Games are still considered as a tourism and leisure alternative that can be added to the agenda by external visitors. However, it requires better historical awareness, which is primarily achieved through volunteering efforts to build continuous interest (Wang and Yu, 2015).
Furthermore, many local or community events are occasional, which leads to the difference in forecasting scales and questions the importance of having external visitors without sufficient sponsorship (Getz, 2007; Getz and Page, 2016). Hence, practicing local event management is more applicable on the regional level within the idea of promoting social and cultural norms to the local population under a limited budget and focused scope of experience delivery.
Events by Content Classification
Apart from the classification by size, researchers also structured event types by the intended content and associated deliverables. The leisure events, by the context of the title, are intended to provide the experience of relaxation tied to the specific mood or cultural preferences within either a large or small community.
Referring to the earlier studies by Getz (1997) and Bowdin et al. (2006), leisure events are a subset of unique events that are designed with a clear time-restricted programme delivered with a specific purpose and direction. Some of the notable examples of leisure events include festivals celebrated in a particular location, where the leisure norms of the attending public are considered as a prerequisite for the public preference (Bladen et al., 2018; Tassiopoulous, 2005). Alternatively, the commercial music festivals could be considered as a phenomenon of engaging people to join mass culture without extensive brand marketing efforts.
Leisure events are also associated with cultural events, which are defined as manifestations of artistic outputs that offering the audience to experience cultural mixes and participatory engagement (Bowdin et al., 2006). Cultural events might also manifest in forms of celebration of work performed by specific social groups such as disabled people, females who argue the importance of women rights, or festivals celebrated by indigenous people. The amateur arts festivals related to religious thinking are also fallen into the category of cultural events, while could be considered an example of the behavioural attitude to the praise of social norms (Goldblatt, 2008).
Consistently, it leads to another association with personal events, which could be defined as the opportunity to represent personal traditions, express oneself, or arrange an event in a particular location that meets individual interests (Goldblatt, 2010; Shone and Parry, 2013). A major celebration that involves high investments might not be categorised as a hallmark event, while one will be certainly explained as personal given the investments an individual makes oneself happy. However, it is yet to be classified as a leisure event depending on the intentions and content supplied within the main scope of services provided.
Finally, it is important to distinguish organisational events, which might fall into the different categories of size while still remain distinct and broad for being defined. Bowdin et al. (2006) admitted that the purpose of business events is mostly different from those related to celebration, festivals or appraisals, since the main focus is to separate individual activities from others and attract more public interest.
Therefore, organisational events are primarily manifested through professional conferences, exhibitions, and related hospitality services that aim to promote organisational image through personal touch to selected stakeholders (Tassiopoulous, 2005; Wang and Song, 2019). However, organisational events also include the aspects of leisure and internal culture, while normally those are limited to the group of visitors that either share common interests or interested in future business partnership.
Sectors and Event Impact
Regardless of the size category or content classification, events occur in public, private, and voluntary sectors. Public sectors suggest that the event is aimed at a broad category of visitors held outdoors, which is mostly natural to exhibitions and sport events (Bowdin, et al., 2006). Alternatively, private sector restricts the event attendance based on the preliminary invitations and the essence of luxury, while could be limited based on exclusive sales and artificially created essence of uniqueness (Akgöz and Engin, 2016). Meanwhile, voluntary sector is mostly natural for the local or community-based events that do not require significant entrance fees and primarily serve as cultural manifestations that promote public entertainment (Goldblatt, 2008; Shone and Parry, 2013).
Through the lenses of the triple bottom line perspective, the internal impact of events classification primarily brings economic profits, where organisations are able to leverage on social constructs and expectations in associated means for entertainment. Furthermore, the social imperative remains essential as events become recurrent and acquire more public interest from investors and third-party stakeholders (Getz, 1997). Meanwhile, the internal impact primarily relates to the cultural absorption of the event essence, where individual expectations are met or even satisfied based on the assessment of social preferences (Matthews, 2008). Considerably, clear and conscious choice of events based on the size and content brings mutual benefit for all engaged actors.
The chosen event scenario is a small scale one-day rock music festival that will be held outdoors during the accompanying beer festival held in Birmingham. The event will take place during the last two weekends of October in 2021, pursuing the Oktoberfest tradition borrowed from the German experience. The event vision and mission statements are summarised as follows:
Vision: We engage rock artists to support the local culture of beer consumption to support national traditions of Birmingham.
Mission: We promote the idea of rock music festivals as inseparable part of traditional celebrations dedicated to national tastes and love for beer during the fall season.
Objective Setting and Theme Explanation
Event planning process assumes that objectives are clearly set and planned prior to the main execution process. Researchers admitted that setting objectives in the event industry is essential to estimate risks and deliver high-quality results to demanding customers, while considering the nature of emotional perception of the event flow (Arcodia and Reid, n.d.). Consistently, the objectives for the proposed event are based on the triple bottom line model and adhere to the following conventions:
- Social objective: To ensure that behavioural and emotional experience of beer festival visitors is improved with music orchestration performed by the reputable rock bands
- Cultural objective: To ensure that rock festival visitors receive the maximum entertainment comfort within the realm of the UK culture of beer consumption on the regional level, in one time and one place;
- Economic objective: To promote current and new rock bands for the future success in maintaining festival careers both on the local and regional levels.
The event will follow a matrix structure, where the parallel activities will be undertaken by project leaders responsible for beer festival activities planning and rock band engagement process. Organisational units will eventually intersect, while it would be important to set individual agendas for project execution to ensure that team members operate in conjunction. The event management process will follow the standard project planning standards.
To identify the prospective rock bands that could participate in a festival, qualitative research will be performed with reputable pub owners located in England. Furthermore, using the snowball sampling approach, new rock bands will be identified as those that could eventually participate in the event to be further promoted (Stivala, et al.,2016). Financial arrangements will be discussed on the bid basis, suggesting that the event has a community-based content. Marketing projections will be performed based on the recent announcements in pubs and forthcoming rock festivals in Birmingham and surrounding areas. Operational estimations are a subject for agreement with Birmingham city government through application for tender and clear proposal for social and economic development for the city in terms of leisure and tourism.
Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a common project management technique which allows visualising critical items or tasks with respect to logic of completion, hierarchy, and estimated time to complete. It also helps event managers to track the success of the project based on the allocated time per task or resources assigned for the task execution (Almeida, 2018). The simplified WBS is further shown in the Appendix and demonstrates consecutive steps for the event planning and execution assuming the 8-months period.
The IET Birmingham: Austin Court has been chosen as a venue for the proposed event. It is located in the heart of Birmingham, has waterside views, and brings its own aesthetics through the architectural design that describes the past city times. Furthermore, it is highly rated in social networks as a point of entertainment, which suggests that combining beer festival and rock concert is a perfect opportunity for the place choice.
The event is primarily targeted at the mature audience aged between 18-35, while does not exclude older age groups who prefer visiting local beer or rock festivals. There is no preference in targeting specific gender groups, while most likely that the majority of visitors would be males. Therefore, the promotional campaign could be realised in several stages.
First, the announcement of the upcoming event will be placed in pubs across the England that also host rock bands and attempt to mix the rock culture with national tradition for beer consumption through authenticity. Second, social media will be used to reach target groups through invitations to attend the event while bearing in mind group association settings and privacy controls. Third, a collaborative media promotion is expected to promote the presence of the rock bands on the beer festival within the efforts performed by main organisers. Finally, a visual campaign is expected to be delivered through posters and leaflets distributed across Birmingham as a fancy attraction in a small city. Given the local nature and limited budget, the heavy external promotion of the event as a hallmark one is not expected.
An event budget is formulated which is a projection of the income and expenses based on plans made and available information. Often event management is expected to predict with reasonable accuracy whether and event will be financially profitable. Prediction of financial outcomes needs to occur at early stages of planning, otherwise it is impossible to plan dates, venues, and other plans until it is determined that a plan is financially viable (Dowson and Bassett, 2015).
It is also important to consider that events require infrastructure, both in spatial and financial terms. Therefore, in the context of scarce resources, particularly in urban areas, financial planning is critical for competent allocation of resources and infrastructure (Müller, 2015). Financing for the event can occur prior and during the event. Prior to the event, financing can stem from local government subsidies, sponsorship and advertising revenue, and ticket sales. During the event, there is also an influx of funding from official merchandise sales, food and beverage sales, and other means of income from ongoing events (Raj et al., 2017).
Risk Management Strategy
The risk management process suggests following five critical steps of risk identification, analysis, evaluation, treatment, and monitoring. For the current event, risk identification assumes the exploration of the available rock bands in the chosen and adjacent areas to ensure that a reliable pool of competitive candidates is found. The analysis stage predisposes that rock bands are chosen based on the criteria of quality that meets the overall essence of the beer festival, the availability to participate, as well as budget availability.
Furthermore, in terms of ranking and evaluation, it is critical to establish a reputational control, suggesting that some rock bands might be criticised by the public during the beer festival because of individual mood perceptions. The risk treatment refers to the choice of primary and secondary options for the event participation, while one might fail if some rock bands prefer alternative offers and reject the invitation before the event. Considerably, it is worth discussing intermediate entertainment or additional time for vocals among already approved rock bands to fix the concert time. Finally, risk review and monitoring will emerge as a post-event analysis through participants’ feedbacks.
Evaluation allows us to have a general overview which examines how an event occurred and what could be improved for future events. Primary purpose of evaluation allows to objectively determine if the event met predetermined measurable targets. Furthermore, evaluation can subjectively evaluate if expectations of participants and stakeholders were met, along with receiving feedback for future planning.
Evaluation is typically performed after the event, although perspectives and data from an event management perspective can be gathered throughout the planning and execution process (Quinn, 2013). There are various methods of evaluation, including analysis of quantitative data such as attendee statistics, sales, and economic impact as well as qualitative through attendee perceptions. Qualitative data can be collected via observation of attendees, interviews with staff and guests, and management notes. Post-event feedback can be gathered through surveys and stakeholder reports (Damster and Tassiopoulos, 2005).
The following contingency plan is considered for the proposed event:
- To conduct an initial briefing with the rock bands regarding their actual interest to take part in the event with respect to potential benefit or harm to their reputation.
- To liaison with the beer festival owners regarding the security control during the event to avoid behavioural issues during the concert.
- To shortlist rock bands that will definitely not fit public interest in Birmingham, further not announcing the length of the show to artificially stretch the timing.
The report findings suggest that event planning and management requires profound skills in categorising target audience, estimating budget, and associating performance with the social, economic and cultural effects. While theoretical underpinnings are essential for the general event classification, the practical evidence of planning an imaginative event brings more clarity in complex mechanisms and relationships engaged in the planning process.
Considerably, previous studies in the area of event management are critical to understand the difference between the core constructs that explain event structuring, while it is important to practice these elements for better comprehension. Specifically, it relates to the case of local event planning described above, where multiple constituents under limited sponsorship opportunities should be considered. Hence, further investigation on the event management studies and practical applicability of the proposed solution are required to verify theoretical perspectives on the subject.
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Work Breakdown Structure
|1. Project Planning||4 weeks|
|1.1. To assemble a project team||1 week|
|1.2. To develop project plan||1 week|
|1.3. To coordinate project activities with beer festival team||1 week|
|1.4. To develop final proposal and align with project sponsors||1 week|
|2. Selection||8 weeks|
|2.1. Conducting interviews with bar owners||2 weeks|
|2.2. Conducting interviews with bar visitors||3 weeks|
|2.3. Shortlisting potential participants||2 weeks|
|2.4. Verifying proposal with the project sponsor and the festival team||1 week|
|3. Evaluation||12 weeks|
|3.1. Venue analysis||3 weeks|
|3.2. Background checks/instrumental check-in||2 weeks|
|3.3. Payment arrangements and verification||3 weeks|
|3.4. Formal agreements sign-up||4 weeks (custom)|
|4. Preparation||7 weeks|
|4.1. Participation check-in||3 weeks|
|4.2. Environmental analysis/technical analysis||2 weeks|
|4.3. Scheduling adjustment planning||2 weeks|
|5. Execution||2 weeks|
|6. Lessons learned session||1 weeks|