Библиографическое описание:

Theodhori O., Qirici E. Towards Online & Virtual Event Marketing [Текст] // Актуальные вопросы экономики и управления: материалы II междунар. науч. конф. (г. Москва, октябрь 2013 г.). — М.: Буки-Веди, 2013. — С. 129-135.

For marketing manager the question is not should they use the Internet, but rather how they should use the Internet.

Internet marketing is one of the most discussed areas recently. The Internet is an enormous source of information for market research and event marketing. Effective event marketing increases awareness, generates excitement and helps increase attendance and participation in event. Whether we are promoting a cultural event or organizational activity, an effective marketing campaign will help us to make the event successful. To increase event attendance marketers use visual marketing, direct and electronic mail and different kind of services. Marketing event can be as challenging as planning it. While technology platform providers have the tools to facilitate the back-end production of online events, the studies in this field are limited. That’s why there is a growing need for an event marketing perspective with online and virtual events in order to secure competitive advantages. The main aim of this study is to analyze the impact and perspectives of internet in event marketing and how it can be used by organizations in order to promote the touristic destinations.

Research methodology. Primary and secondary research were considered to gather data from a target audience. The electronic page, (http://www.akt.gov.al) were used to find the corresponding websites.

Key words. Event marketing, virtual event, visual marketing.

Introduction

To achieve competitive advantage for its tourism industry, any destination must ensure that its overall ‘appeal’, and the tourist experience offered, must be superior to that of the alternative destinations open to potential visitors. Existing and potential visitation to any destination is inextricably linked to that destination’s overall competitiveness; however that is defined or measured. A major aim of the paper is event management industry which is grow up and play an important role in promotion of touristic destinations. Since a range of factors influence destination competitiveness, including price and non-price factors, there is a need to develop indicators which reflect this. The development of a set of competitiveness indicators would serve as a valuable tool in identifying what aspects or factors influence tourists in their decision to visit other countries and the role of internet in promotion of different kind of events. The development of an associated set of indicators will allow identification of the relative strengths and weaknesses of different tourism destinations. With advances in technology and the growth in digital media usage (Cheong and Morrison, 2008), advertisers are seeking new ways to reach consumers. Numerous studies indicate an increase in social network usage (Goldsborough, 2009). While teenagers were primarily the first users of social networks, a growing population of 25 to 34-year-olds and white-collar professionals now also use them (Kim, 2008). The growth of these demographics more generally demonstrates the growing applicability of social networks to everyday life. Cooke and Buckley (2008) predicted that websites and the Internet would be the marketing tactics of the future. In their theoretical essay, the authors identified several trends regarding the growing use of online social networks. The increase in the open source movement through shared intellectual property, the emergence of Web and an increase in the number of online social networks have contributed to the overall growth of online social networking. For these reasons many touristic organizations have create their presence online to promote and to attract tourist and the other consumer to take part in different kind of activities, to invite them to visit touristic destinations and to take part especially in events. To increase event attendance marketers use visual marketing, direct and electronic mail and different kind of services. Marketing event can be as challenging as planning it. While technology platform providers have the tools to facilitate the back-end production of online events, the studies in this field are limited. That’s why there is a growing need for an event marketing perspective with online and virtual events in order to secure competitive advantages. The main aim of this study is to analyze the impact and perspectives of internet in event marketing and how it can be used by organizations in order to promote the touristic destinations.

1.                   Literature Review

1.1               Impacts and benefits of event marketing.

Events are an important motivator of tourism. The roles and impacts of planned events within tourism have been well documented, and are of increasing importance for destination competitiveness. Yet it was only a few decades ago that ‘event tourism became established in both the tourism industry and in the research community, so that subsequent growth of this sector can only be described as spectacular. Equally, ‘event management’ is a fast growing professional field in which tourists constitute a potential market for planned events and the tourism industry has become a vital stakeholder in their success and attractiveness. Internet and high teach technologies are used by tourism organizations in order to secure competitive advantages. But not all events need to be tourism oriented, and some fear the potential negative impacts associated with adopting marketing orientation. As well, events have other important roles to play, from community-building to urban renewal, cultural development to fostering national identities. That why tourism is not the only partner or proponent. In this paper the nature, evolution and future development of ‘event tourism’ are discussed, pertaining to both theory and professional practice.

Planned events are spatial–temporal phenomenon, and each is unique because of interactions among the setting, people, and management systems—including design elements and the program. Much of the appeal of events is that they are never the same. In addition, ‘virtual events’, communicated through various media, also offer something of interest and value to consumers and the tourism industry. They are different kinds of event experiences.

The study of event impacts has been driven by a need to examine the positive impacts of holding events in order to promote a touristic destination and a need to leverage the best possible benefits for communities that host events, (Ritchie 2000). To date the event impact literature is rather piecemeal (Faulkner et al 2003). As events themselves are often one-offs, so too are the studies of event impacts so a solid body of comparative evidence has been slow to develop. This is being addressed in more recent work with economic impact studies while the negative impacts and the unequal distribution of benefits are also less commonly explored (Hiller 1998). While much of the literature focuses on economic benefits, many authors (Carlsen and Taylor 2003; Fredline et al 2003) suggest more research is needed on the social, physical, environmental and tourism impacts of events and their interrelationships. To this end there have been various attempts to develop an event impact evaluation framework (Hiller 1998; Ritchie 2000; Faulkner et al 2003). These studies set out the key frameworks used to analyze event impacts and guides readers through the range of impact analysis topics.

The most recent literature indicates a new focus is emerging with an emphasis on leveraging positive benefits of an event (O’Brien 2006). This growing body of knowledge draws more on qualitative studies to analyze the equity of benefits and to explore the most productive strategies for enabling host communities to benefit from an event. Internet plays an important role in promotion and of tourist destination. Many local and international touristic organizations have their own website to increase traffic of tourists that visit a particular destination. According to a recent survey by BizRate.com (2010), 90 % of the respondents intend to use the internet exclusively or in conjunction with off-line resources to schedule airfare, 92 % of those planning to purchase travel online and reservation of hotels, (57 %) to rent cars and (42 %) to get information about events and then to make reservation online. More than 75 percent of respondents indicated that discounts would motivate them to purchase future travel reservations online and to take part in different kind of events. According to a 2009 Jupiter Communications' research study, Internet users ranked «searching on the Internet» as their most important activity, rating it 9.1 on a 10 point scale. And most Internet users find information through the use of search engines and online directories. Tourism Destinations emerge as umbrella brands and they will need to be promoted in the global marketplace as one entity for each target market they try to attract. The emerging globalization and concentration of supply increase the level of competition and require new internet marketing strategies for destinations. So, event marketing has an important role in promotion of touristic destinations.

Event marketing is the activityof designing or developinga themed activity, occasion, display, or exhibit(such as a sporting event, music festival, fair, or concert) to promotea product, cause, or organization. This also called event creation. In an events context impacts of internet encompass a variety of positive benefits to an event. These impacts and benefits are very important to the tourists and the others people who continuity take part to events. They may be felt by a variety of stakeholders including participants, local businesses and the host community. An event will affect people in different ways, thus, there may be inequity in the distribution of impacts and benefits. Typically studies focus on one or more of the following impact areas: Physical infrastructure; Environmental impacts (often linked with physical infrastructure); Economic impacts; Tourism destination impacts (the focus of this study); Image enhancement; Social impacts; Cultural impacts; Political impacts, Urban renewal and Technology impact especially internet. The literature review was also used as the basis for identifying core and qualifying attributes of special events that were subsequently used to support a range of definitions that was proposed for different special event types and the important of internet to promote and to drive traffic on website. This will lead in increasing the number of tourist and the other people to take part in an event. According to “Power and Value of Event Marketing the 2004 MPI/GPJ Event Trends Report”, the value of event marketing is focused in three area: 1.Buyers information needs are changing due of internet use. 2. Marketing priorities are changing. 3. Events are becoming a more important part of the marketing mix.

2.                   Methodology

2.1 Sampling Procedure

In social research, two approaches can generally be taken, based on the two broad categories of data that exist: qualitative or quantitative. Essentially, qualitative research involves data in the form of words, pictures, descriptions, or narratives; meanwhile, quantitative research uses numbers and counts and measure things. The decision on whether to choose a quantitative or qualitative approach lies in the nature of the mind of the researcher, research field, and research problem (Sullivan, 2001). For the purpose of this study, was used the website of Tourism National Agency in Albania, (http://www.akt.gov.al) and www.bashkiakorce.gov.al. The study research was conducted in two phases. The first phase encompassed the analysis the profile of the tourists and the impact of event marketing and internet, while the second phase referred to the assessment tourist manager to the importance of internet marketing to an event and the development possibility of it, in promotion of touristic destinations.

2.2Data Collection

Search engines, Google and (http://www.akt.gov.al) were used to find the corresponding websites. As the site performance may be influenced by the type of browser, computer speed, internet speed, and time of a day, these external factors were controlled when conducting the content analyses of the sites. The questionnaires were completed by the tourist managers in Korça region during the last year. They were asked about the importance of internet marketing to an event and the development possibility of it, in order to promote the touristic destinations. One of the research aims is contained in the acquisition of reliable data based to tourist characteristics and the important of event marketing, internet and websites. In such a way an attempt was made to collect data on the event structure according to the types, time period as well as to geographical division of events within the tourist destination.

2.3               Study region

Korça is famous for its special buildings and premises of a high tourist value. There are developed some types of tourism such as: cultural, ecological, mountainous tourism etc. The Korça”s city population is about 86.176 inhabitants, with an almost equal distribution of females and males (according to the statistics of 2010). During 2004, it is observed that the number of “incoming” population is greater than that of “going out”. This shows a tendency of increasing population, despite the immediate decrease that it suffered after the year 1990 because of the migration within the country and the emigration of a considerable number of inhabitants abroad, and also because of the students, who after the end of their studies have had the tendency to exercise their professions at the place where they studied. Besides the Albanian nationality the population of the city and its districts is a bit mixed with Slavs, Vlachos, and Romanians. Due to its favorable geographical position, Korça region has always represented an attractive and easily accessible tourist destination for tourists from the neighboring countries, such as Greece, Macedonia, Italy and the other European countries such as Germany or Netherland.

Due to its total resources, achieved development level and potentials, the sector of tourism has an exceptional importance in the development of Albania as a touristic destination. In 2009, 3.050.828 tourists visited Albania (20 % of total visitors to Korça). The total of tourist capacities (all categories and types) records an increase in compare with the last year. Albania is considered as one of the most attractive touristic destination recently. The tourists accommodations belongs to private accommodation, tourist resorts, apartments, apartment-hotels, holiday homes, farm tourism facilities, holiday campuses and other.

The main tourists in Albania are from Kosovo, 674.214 visitors or 37 % of total number of visitors; Macedonia 306.714 visitors or 17 %; Montenegro 18.731 visitors or 7 %; Italy, 100171 visitors or 6 %; Greece, 98919 visitors or 6 %; United Kingdom, 56.734 visitors; Germany 47.240 visitors; Serbia, 40.561 visitors; Turkey, 25.542 visitors and France 19.342 visitors. The total amount of money during 2009 was 1.054 million euro. It is Master Plan of Development of Tourism in Korça region in 2009 who is very important for region development including here the infrastructure technology and other investments. There are many events that take part during different time in Korça region, as “Birra’s Celebrity”, “Light”s Festival”, “Christmas Trade Show”, “Korca”s Carnivals”,“Musical Week”, commercial events, and other sports activities. The portal site of “Marketing Tourism Destinations” play an important role in promoting Korça as a touristic destination because provide information on four core areas: How to get there (e.g., air travel); Getting around (e.g., car rental); Places to stay (e.g., hotel accommodation); Things to do (e.g., places to see, dining, shopping, shows and events).

2.4               Measurement of attitudes and data collection

The research conducted for this paper is a unique research on events in tourism in the Korca region. Two approaches can generally be taken, based on the two broad categories of data that exist: qualitative or quantitative. The target group in this study consists of tourists and managers of tourist organizations in Korça region. The results were obtained by using the survey method on a sample of 80 tourists. They were asked to self-complete the questionnaire and return it to their tutor. Seventy-two questionnaires were returned representing a 90 % response rate. Questions relating to age, gender, education, family status and income were included in this section of the questionnaire, while the second part related to the perception of the importance of internet in promotion of event. The questionnaire consisted on questions about≤; where did you get the information≤ How important were internet and websites≤ Which is the main role of internet to find the necessary information≤ How important are the attributes to promote evens through internet marketing≤ Will you use again these websites≤ What is the impact of internet in your decision making≤ etc, all, were recorded on five-point Likert”s scales.

The research methodology was based on two fundamental approaches which include use of descriptive and the importance-performance analysis was used to determine tourists and tourism manager attitudes toward the importance of six attributes to promote events through internet marketing.

3.                   Profile of tourist in Korca region.

Table 1, provides demographic information on the 80 respondents that were used in this study. The results presented in this table show that a reasonable coverage of categories was achieved for all demographic variables.

The research on the general characteristics of tourist shows that women prevail in the structure (58 %), while men make up only 42 %. The age of tourists between 20 and 35 is (29 %), followed by (33.6 %) of group between 36 and 50 years of age and the least represented group more than 50 is 28,2 %. Most of tourists being university educated, about, 59 %. Most of the tourist are married with children at home, (38 %), married, no children at home, (26 %) and never married, (22 %). How about nationality, the main tourist are inbound from Albania and outbound from Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo, in total 92 %, while only 8 % are from European nationalities (e.g., French, German, British, Italian, etc.)

Table.1

Demographic Data

Percentage of respondents

AGE Younger than 20 years

9.2 %

20–35 years

29 %

36–50 years

33.6 %

More than 50 years

28.2 %

GENDER

Percentage of respondents

Male

42 %

Female

58 %

EDUCATION

Percentage of respondents

Secondary School

4.9 %

High School

27.2 %

Professional Education

6.0 %

University Bachelor

40.8 %

University Master

15.4 %

Higher than Master (PhD candidate, PhD, other)

3.5 %

Other

2.2 %

NATIONALITY

Percentage of respondents

Albanian, Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo.

92 %

European nationalities (e.g., French, German, British, Italian, etc.)

8 %

Family Status

Percentage of respondents

Married, children at home

38 %

Married, no children at home

26 %

Never married

22 %

Others

14 %

3.1 The study findings. With little previous academic research on usage of tourism destinations organizations websites” by the tourist in order to get information or to take part in different kind of events it was difficult to create a descriptive analysis on practices and perceptions to event or event online. Successful event marketing will take in account the impact of technology.

The tourists were asked about: where did you get the information about the events in Korca region≤ and 44 % of them used touristic destinations organizations websites, (http://www.akt.gov.al) and www.bashkiakorce.gov.al, continually, 28 %, broadcast advertising, 12 % direct marketing and only 16 %, brochure. Chart 1 shows the average of rating given by the set of respondents. Based on the average rating we find that time saving is the biggest advantages that tourist perceive when they use the website of touristic destination organization. They are very skeptic towards loyalty and consider personalization as a important advantages that gives more commodity during the interface with the website. A more interesting emphasis in their perception is that e-marketing help the tourist to be less dependent that other individuals. They were aware about the benefits and advantages of website use as below:

3.2 Tourist managers and tourist attitudes towards internet marketing in events promotion.

A part of research was conducted to understand the tourist perception about the importance of events online and how can be used by managers in order to increase the number of inbound and outbound tourists. The importance-performance analysis was used to determine tourists and tourism managers attitudes toward the importance of six attributes to promote events through internet marketing.

According to “2008 MPI/GPJ Event Trends Report, The Power and Value of Event Marketing” there is regional a difference in budgets between Europe and USA. So, The anticipated increase in budgets for elements of the marketing mix is show below: Event Marketing (USA- 34 %, Europe- 40 %); Direct Marketing (USA- 15 %, Europe- 32 %); Web/Internet, (USA- 30 %, Europe- 28 %); Advertising (Print), (USA- 30 %, Europe- 15 %); Advertising (USA- 64 %, Europe- 48 %); Public Relations, (USA- 48 %, Europe- 36 %); Sales Promotion), (USA- 25 %, Europe- 12 %). The budget for event marketing is higher in Europe than in USA, this means that special events should be regarded, principally, as part of the main strategy.

According to the studies (http://www.trimarksolutions.com) there are six ways to promote event through internet marketing. 1. The use of social media resources. As the first obvious outlet to event marketing online, social media is a chance to personally touch individual people who are interested in or looking for an event. Manages should use Face-book walls, tweeters, etc. 2. Connect directly to consumers with email. Most people check their emails up to 2 to 3 times a day. Manager can either collect a database for tourist or consumers (segmented into demographics) and send email blasts about upcoming events or specials. 3. Post on local community sites. Generally in today’s internet savvy world, a city or town will have a community website for local businesses or citizens to find events or happenings that are going on in the community. These sites are excellent for a town’s economy: it helps smaller businesses have a higher traffic flow and informs the locals of upcoming events. These sites are usually free and get a lot of localized traffic to them. 4. Link your way into the peoples’ hearts. Always make the links and event relevant to the blog or post you’re linking to. A great way to spread the hype about an event is to post on your current blog about all the preparations, pre-games and after events. 5. Create and speaking of blogs. A great way to spread the hype about an event is to post on your current blog about all the preparations and after events. 6. Have a webpage in your site just for your event. An event needs a lot of information.

Both tourist and tourism managers were asked about the importance of six attributes. It was used a point scale of five to asses the importance of attributes. The differences in perception of both tourist and manager are vey small. This means that all attributes are very important. The results are shown in Table 2.

Attributes

Importance mean (tourists)

Importance mean (managers)

Differences

Social media resources

4.36

4.28

0.08

Connect to consumers through email

4.68

4.68

0.00

Post on local community sites

4.32

4.34

0.02

Link your way into the peoples’ hearts

3.32

3.68

-0.36

Create and speaking of blogs

4.22

4.24

0.02

Have a webpage just for event                                 

4.56

4.84

- 0.28

To provide a measure of validity when examining the perceptions of tourism manager to importance of internet marketing were asked about “How long have you been using internet marketing≤”, 24 % of them have used it for less than a year, 17 % have used it for a year, 36 % have used internet marketing for five years and 23 % for over five years.

The study also examined the responses to the survey questions, “How often your company used email campaign to promote an event≤ To analyze these questions, were used the combined of e responses from “very often” (5) “to never” (1). More than 55 % of tourism managers used often or very often email marketing campaign to promote an event, 23 % of them not very often and 22 % never. The last ones used more traditional marketing campaign and printed brochures. The answer:” Have a webpage just for event≤”.

Unfortunately, even thought they point very important (4.56), only 12 % no one of them has a webpage just for events but they would build it the following months or years. It is the same situation even for create and speaking of blogs.

The role of social media is pointed very important too but some of them consider it as a common advertising platform. Social media make it easier to reach consumers, 68 % agreed, 22 % neither agreed nor disagreed, and 10 % disagreed. The last answer was about the post on local community sites. This was considered as very important and 67 % of them post it in a continuous way while 33 % very rare.

Taken as a whole, the results from the survey indicated less industry-wide usage of internet marketing to promote events compared to perceptions of industry-wide usage from the respondents at the digital and full-service agencies. Regardless of universal usage rates, tourism organizations use internet marketing for events promotion. However, the online survey also indicated that many organizations are still unsure about their effectiveness. When asked to rate the statement, “Consumers are more responsive to messages in internet and social media versus traditional media.

Summary

-          Event industry, in Korca region is included in a process of evaluation further more an increase of clients especially outside Albania is noticed. This is attributed global links and the speed of securing the services.

-          Internet marketing plays an important role in promotion of different kind of events. It often helps tourists decision making to take part in events.

-          Internet, influence not only the consumer's choice of event destination or package but, crucially for the industry, it also influences the consumer's booking pattern. By facilitating price comparisons the Internet also focuses the consumer on the comparative value of the offering and consumers are becoming increasingly value focused.

-          Manager may secure a depth understanding of consumer behaviour in relation to these events and this is very critical if regions are to maximize the net benefits that are derived from these events.

-          The consumer”s perspective upon which the conceptualization was based, will enable special events to be developed and promoted in a manner that has relevance for the consumer.

-          The various techniques were able to demonstrate differences between respondents having a high event visit intention and respondents having a low event visit intention and the use of internet and tourism organizations websites.

-          The individual influences that were used in this study to examine consumer behaviour in relation to a range of visitor attractions including special events, provided additional information in website which varied between tourists.

-          Research needs to be undertaken to explore further instruments used to measure personal influence and other factor in tourists decision making.

-          The field of special events has clearly suffered from the lack of a commonly accepted definitional base.

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