Key success factors in managing the visitors' experience at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival
Erasmus, Lourens Johannes Jacobus
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The ABSA Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) is one of the biggest and most popular Afrikaans arts festivals in South Africa, and since its modest beginnings in 1994, the festival has grown significantly with an estimated 85518 visitors attending the festival in 2010. The festival furthermore has a considerable economic impact on the host community of Oudtshoorn and the surrounding regions. The direct spending by festival visitors during the 2010 festival was estimated at R109.7 million, that consists of tickets bought at the festival, memorabilia, food, restaurants and beverages, transport, accommodation and entertainment. Benefits associated with these spending patterns include an increase in job opportunities for the residents, more entertainment opportunities, improvement of residents’ lifestyles and opportunities for expanding businesses to name but a few. However, the number of tickets bought for shows and productions at the KKNK has decreased drastically over the last six years, visitor numbers have decreased and this will result in a decrease in the total revenue and economic impact this festival has on the local community of Oudtshoorn. Therefore, the festival needs to be managed in a sustainable way through improving the entertainment offered at the festival. The festival guide and promotion material should be designed in such a way that they meet the needs of visitors and offers the necessary information services to create a unique festival experience for visitors. The specific services visitors need must be provided, such as shuttle services and security. The purpose of this research is to identify the key success factors (KSFs) in managing the visitors’ experience at the KKNK. To achieve this, a quantitative survey was done by distributing 500 questionnaires amongst the visitors to the festival in 2010 from the 1st to the 8th of April. A total of 443 completed questionnaires were received back. In Chapter 2, an analysis on the background and different theories of event tourism, special events, arts festivals, management and KSFs were investigated. Previous studies on the KSFs were also identified which rendered valuable and proved that different tourism operations including events and arts festivals have different KSFs. Furthermore, this analysis revealed that there exist different markets with their own individual needs and reasons for attending the arts festivals and therefore have their own expectations of what needs to be included in a unique festival experience. Chapter 3 consists of Article 1, and the main purpose of this article was to identify the various key success factors visitors to the KKNK see as important in satisfying their needs and providing a unique festival experience. A factor analysis was performed and identified the following KSFs: Safety and Personnel, Marketing and Accessibility, Venues, Accommodation and Ablutions, General aspects and Social impact, Parking and Restaurants and Shows and Stalls. The results indicated that professional staff, adequate safety and emergency services, clear indications, easy accessible venues, quality accommodation, affordable children activities, quality food providers and a variety of shows are important KSFs to provide visitors with an unforgettable festival experience. Chapter 4’s (Article 2) main purpose was to divide or segment visitors to the KKNK based on their travel motivation to attend the festival and their rating of the importance of the KSFs into separate markets. This purpose was achieved by performing a factor analysis on the travel motivations to identify the main travel motives for visitors to attend the KKNK, this was followed by a cluster analysis based on the travel motives where three clusters were identified namely Escapists, Festival Junkies and Culture seekers. The clusters festival organisers should focus their management skills and resources on are the Festival Junkies and Culture Seekers. After performing ANOVA and Chi–square tests the results showed statistically significant differences between the three clusters based on age, years attended the festival, length of stay, total spending, all the KSFs, gender and rock shows as visitors preferred type of show or production. The results therefore reveal that there are three different markets based on their travel motives who attend the KKNK, furthermore each of these three clusters has their own preferences, characteristics and ratings on which KSF will contribute in enhancing their festival experience. This was the first study of its kind in South Africa. Therefore, it contributes to the event management literature. Festival organisers can also use the results of this research to improve the KKNK’s sustainability and success by applying the KSFs and increase tickets sales for shows and productions, attract a younger market and attract visitors who spend more at the festival, by providing for the needs of specific markets and creating a unique festival experience for each visitor.