The relationship between visitor spending and repeat visits: an analysis of spectators at the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon
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PURPOSE: The purpose of this research is to determine the relationship between visitor spending patterns, and previous and planned return visits as well as demographic and trip characteristics of supporters to the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon held annually in Cape Town. PROBLEM INVESTIGATED: Spectator sport is a significant segment of the tourism industry which also has a considerable economic impact on host communities. For this reason, communities and destinations have recognised and attempt to capitalise on hosting large sporting events. In this regard visitor spending is crucial since information concerning the latter can provide sport event organisers to focus their marketing efforts to attract optimal economic benefits. In addition, the relationship of previous visits to a sport event and intended re-visits to visitor spending has received increasing attention since it is believed that repeat visitation is associated with higher levels of expenditure. However limited attention is currently being paid to the relationship between spectator spending patterns and previous and planned return visits in a South African sport spectator context even though the latter has a direct impact on the future sustainability of an event. METHODOLOGY: A supporter survey was done for the first time in 2010 (30 March – 2 April 2010) at the event and 430 questionnaires were completed. Factor analysis and regression analysis are used to analyse the data and to identify the relationship between repeat visits and visitor spending patterns. FINDINGS: Results from this study shows that it is predominantly socio-demographic variables that influence travel behaviour. The significant socio-demographic determinants that influence spending per person are gender, language and province of origin while the only behavioural determinant was group size. The results also revealed that there is no significant relationship between spectator spending, repeat attendance and intention to re-visit. However, repeat attendance does have a significant influence on spectators’ intention to re-visit and spectators who have attended the race more times have a higher intention to revisit in the future. ORIGINALITY AND CONCLUSION: Results from his innovative study showed that although no statistically significant relationship was established, a strong relationship between repeat visits and intention to revisit was found. A significant contribution to the literature is evident since the focus is on spectators at a sports event as opposed to participants. It was the first study of its kind in South Africa and the importance of the role and function of spectators at an event is highlighted. As a further contribution, prominent differences regarding the participants were evident when compared to previous studies on participants at other South African sports events. Event organisers can use this information to effectively promote the event in order to attract supporters and to generate revenue for Cape Town during the event but especially months after the race. The latter will also greatly contribute to the long-term sustainability of the marathon.