Visitor Satisfaction at a Local Festival: An Importance-Performance Analysis of Oktoberfest
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The aim of this research was to provide a practical method for assessing visitor satisfaction at a local festival. It is crucial for festival management to monitor and evaluate visitor satisfaction in order to understand and identify the needs and perceptions of attendees, which in turn allows organizers to design and tailor the festival elements towards them, leading to higher visitor satisfaction, positive word-of-mouth advertising, and increased likelihood of repeat attendance (Lee, Lee and Choi, 2011; Lee & Beeler, 2009). The research objectives were to evaluate current levels of satisfaction of festival attendees, to determine what attributes are importance in determining satisfaction, and to analyze whether importance and performance of those attributes differs based on demographics and visit characteristics, with the aim of recommending policies to assist the festival in increasing overall visitor satisfaction. A questionnaire was distributed over four days, and three event locations resulting in the collection of 389 completed questionnaires. Respondents were asked to complete demographic and visit information as well as rate the importance and performance of eighteen festival attributes. ANOVA and independent t-tests were used in order to determine whether the importance and satisfaction of these attributes differed based on the demographics and visit characteristics. An Importance-performance analysis (IPA) was then used to assist event organizers in resource allocation while identifying critical performance attributes in order to improve visitor satisfaction. Findings reveal attributes associated with program content, convenience and food and beverage ranked higher in determining visitor satisfaction than the attributes associated with souvenir, transportation and information availability. Results also indicate statistically significant differences of the mean importance and mean performance scores of attributes based on gender, age, resident status, site and whether it was the respondents’ first time at the event. It was found that females place a higher importance on convenience attributes such as the cleanliness of restrooms, helpfulness of staff and feeling of safety, as compared to males. As well, repeat visitors placed a higher importance on program content attributes such as live entertainment, dance space and authentic culture, and also have a higher perception of performance for these attributes than first-time visitors. These findings result in direction for management in where to place future resources, as well as implications for promotional and advertising strategies.