Measuring Attendees' Cultural Event Experiences: Insights From 365 Algarve

Measuring Attendees' Cultural Event Experiences: Insights From 365 Algarve

Magda Wikesjö (Faculty of Economics, University of Algarve, Portugal), Manuela Guerreiro (Faculty of Economics and Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-Being (CinTurs), University of Algarve, Portugal), Patrícia Pinto (Faculty of Economics and Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-Being (CinTurs), University of Algarve, Portugal) and Dália Paulo (Loulé's Municipality, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3156-3.ch011
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Abstract

This chapter explores the concept of cultural event experience, as the interaction between an individual and the cultural event environment, altered by the level of engagement with multiple experiential elements and outputs, measured in four dimensions: experience novelty, affective engagement, cognitive engagement, and conative engagement. The purpose is to test the event experience scale (EES) as a valid measurement instrument for cultural event experiences, producing valuable insights for stakeholders and marketing management teams. The empirical study lays on a program of cultural and artistic events, the “365 Algarve,” which was launched in a bottom-up approach to involve residents and local cultural groups to increase territory cohesion and to reinforce the brand image of Algarve. Using a sample drawn from the attendees present at those events, the results confirm the validity of EES with a new dimension emerged: experiential learning. The study reveals a possible new measurement instrument, the cultural event experience scale (CEES).
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Introduction

Recent research is supporting that culture will play a major role in key fields as social cohesion, welfare, entrepreneurship and sustainability (Blessi et al., 2014). As the world faces enormous environmental and economic challenges, issues of culture and sustainability are moving to the forefront of planning, policy, and programs in communities of all sizes (Duxbury & Jeannotte, 2010). Culture is one of the pillars for sustainable development of societies (Duxbury & Jeannotte, 2010).

Events contribute to the ‘soft infrastructure’ of places that supports a higher subjective well-being (Richards, 2015). Getz (2008) refers, that some event values, promote community-building, cultural development and even national identities.

Cultural events are more than culture guardians of meaning, they create and deliver it. The shared experience imbedded in cultural events makes them singular (Richards and Palmer, 2010). And the non-instrumental character of cultural experiences leads to authentic personal engagement and social relationships (Blessi et al., 2014).

The Algarve, in the recent past, has been the stage of several cultural events. In 2005, Faro was the National Capital of Culture (Ferreira & Martins, 2005) and in 2007, the Portuguese government, introduced a program of events called Allgarve (Guerreiro et al.,2011). The Festival MED-World Music created in 2004 to support the European Football Championship (Grenhas, 2013) is still alive in the city of Loulé.

The 365 Algarve cultural program is a set of cultural and artistic events that was launched in 2016, with a budget of 1,5 million euros funded by a partnership between Culture and Tourism Secretaries and implemented by the Algarve Tourism Board. 365 Algarve’s main purpose is to foster territory cohesion in the region, involve residents and local cultural groups in different projects, densify the cultural offer in the low touristic season (from October 2016 to May 2017) and reinforce the brand Algarve. Municipalities (public initiatives) and Cultural Agents (public and private initiatives) in the Algarve are the proponents and creators of the planned events, as a bottom-up approach to initiate and sustain the event program (AA.VV., 2016). Due to its different pack of cultural events (Music, Opera, Performing Arts, Theatre, Visual arts, Music/Gastronomy, Cinema, Animation of Heritage, Literature and Contemporary Circus), it was considered the perfect setting to implement the research project.

The objective of this study is to test the Event Experience Scale (EES) (Geus, Richards & Toepel, 2016) in cultural events by collecting insights from the attendees of the 365 Algarve’s events. In Geus, Richards & Toepel’s (2016) study respondents were asked to remember events they attended until one year ago. In this research a questionnaire was developed and administrated to attendees, handed live at events and collected in situ.

An Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) followed by a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) will be used to inspect the measurement model and check the reliability and validity of the constructs of the EES in the context of the 365 Algarve events.

Organizations in the cultural/art sector need to increase their knowledge of the who and why of consumer behaviour, to engage in stronger branding and positioning strategies and to make better use of data technology for marketing purposes (Colbert, 2003). Hopefully, CEES will contribute with valid insights to support marketing management decisions regarding cultural events.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Experience: The individual response to the stimulus of a specific environment during a period of time.

Multidimensional: refers to a concept that is explained by several dimensions, interrelated but distinct in between them.

Planned Event: Considering the tourism field a planned event is designed by professionals with an objective or function, differing from individual and community initiatives.

Construct: The subject matter that one wishes to measure using survey questions, the construct is defined by its dimensions.

In Situ: This Latin expression was used to emphasise that respondents answered the questionnaire directly at the exit of the cultural event they have attended.

Cultural Settings: The global scenarios or environments, where cultural events occur including complementary activities, publics and professionals.

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