Strategic Event Planning in the Festival Industry

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1.0. Introduction

According to Bladen et al. (2012:3), events are temporary, they reunite people, they can occur on a regular basis, but each of them are unique. Event Job Search (2012) adds that an event can be defined as a situation where a company presents itself directly to its targeted audience. However, none of those definitions are really precise. Indeed, the scope of the event industry is so diverse that it is difficult to really define it. The development of the communication channels such as the internet and the ease of travel have made the event industry growing (O’Toole 2010: XXI). Indeed, according to Britain for Events (2012), nowadays the event industry attracts 7 million of visitors per year in UK, the value of the event industry in UK is £36.1 billion and it employs 530 000 workers. In 2020, the events industry will be worth £48.4 billion. However, Robinson et al. (2010: 239) argue that it is difficult to measure the real size of the industry because the sector is highly diverse and that there is an encroachment with other sectors such as the hospitality sector (People1st 2010). According to Sharkey (2009), various international events occurring in the UK will boost the Hotel Industry. Berkeley Scott (2012) add value to that idea with the example of the Olympics in London, saying that the extras visitors expected for the event would stimulate the Hospitality Industry through hotels, restaurants and pubs. Fletcher (2012) categorises events in conferences, meetings, sporting spectacles, exhibitions, product launches, festivals and incentive programs. Bowdin et al. (2010:19) bring another approach to the categorisation of events: according to them, events are categorised regarding their size and the impact they have: the bigger the impact is, the bigger the event is. Getz (1999) also supports that theory saying that mega-events are the ones that produce the highest level of tourism, media coverage, economic impact or prestige for their host communities. Bowdin et al. (2010) also categorises the event industry in 3 types: cultural, sports and business. That approach seems quite simplistic, as events can concern many other things. Raj et al. (2009:3) and Getz (1997:7) presents other analysis with many other categories that seems to be more representative of the current event sector.

However, whatever the type of event, they all follow the same strategic planning process. Thus, this report will, firstly, discuss the overall strategic planning process, then introduce the area of focus to be able to analyse its financial aspect of the strategic planning process, its Human Resource and finally its marketing. The last part will look at the process of evaluation of the event.

2.0. Strategic event planning process

There is an accurate flow that needs to be incorporated into the design of an event, and every choice needs to be precisely pondered, the success of the event depending on it (Allen, 2010:1). That flow is called strategic event planning process. According to O’Toole (2011:3), a strategy is a long-term planning designed to achieve the goals of an organisation. Indeed, Allen (2009:1) enhances the idea of the importance of planning saying that an event is comparable to a live stage production: once it starts, there is no place for mistake. Many authors, such as Bowdin et al. (2010:190) or Shone and Parry (2010:92) offer their opinions of the optimum process for an effective strategy which are quite similar. However, Bowdin et al. (2010:190) add, at the beginning of the process, the idea of feasibility. Is the idea realistic? Are the resources to deliver the event available? Or is it possible to create them? It is the stage of birth and hatching of the project (Masterman, 2012:57). On the contrary, Shone and Parrry (2010:92) encompass the idea of strategic planning in its last stage: the legacy. One of the reasons why it is important to strategically plan an event is that the impact of that...
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