Key success factors for managing special events : the case of wedding tourism
The primary goal of the study was to identify key success factors for the management of wedding tourism in South Africa. This goal was achieved by firstly conducting a literature study to determine the key success factors of strategic management for special events as stated in books, articles and other sources. Secondly, wedding tourism was analysed to provide an overview of the wedding tourism industry and weddings as tourism products. Thirdly, the results of the empirical research were discussed followed by the conclusions and recommendations made with regard to further research. From the literature study, aspects regarding strategic management were discussed namely, the strategic management process, marketing for special events, human resource management, financial management and operational management. These aspects were included in the questionnaires for the empirical research. Two different questionnaires were developed, one for wedding planners and one for owners/managers of wedding venues in the Gauteng and North West provinces. The purpose of the questionnaires was to gather information on the key success factors for wedding tourism and to gain insight of the wedding tourism industry. Personal interviews were held with wedding planners and owners1 managers of wedding venues; questionnaires were also distributed via email. All the data was processed by the North-West University's Statistical Consultation Services. A confirmatory factor analysis was done to produce a small amount of factors. The following factors were identified: strategic planning; SWOT analysis, human resources, financial management, market segmentation, promotion and operational management. After analysing the data it was clear that operational services like ensuring high levels of hygiene, having a liquor license, accessibility, secure parking and that services must meet the needs of guests were considered extremely important aspects for a wedding venue. The following aspects were considered extremely important by wedding planners: services must meet the needs of guests, offer unique products and develop a checklist as control mechanism. Owners of wedding tourism products and wedding planners have to consider and apply the key success factors in order to grow the industry and create sustainable products.