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The question is not whether to promote or not to promote, but rather when to promote.

1. Introduction

One of the fastest growing segments in events tourism is arts festivals, which can be defined as community-themed events or celebrations designed to showcase different art forms, activities and experiences. Jackson and O'Sullivan (2002, p. 328), and Getz (1997, p. 4) indicate that arts festivals have the following advantages: extension of the tourist season; greater participation in sports, arts or other activities related to the festival theme; generation of revenue for governments; and positive economic impacts on the local economy by generating income, supporting existing businesses and encouraging new businesses. Based on these benefits, it is understandable that more destinations are offering or hosting different forms of festivals and events. Therefore this market is very competitive and the number of events is increasing every year. The contribution of events to tourism lies in the fact that events serve as attractions and offer entertainment. Many countries such as Australia, Switzerland, England and Canada base much of their destination marketing efforts on festivals and events (Saayman 2004, p. 211), and the same applies for South Africa.

In this regard, the largest arts festival in South Africa, in terms of economic impact, is held annually in the small town of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape Province, and is better known as The Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK). The main aim of the festival is to promote the arts in Afrikaans (Hauptfleisch 2001, p. 173), as well as to give the host community of Oudtshoorn a financial injection by using the festival as a mass tourist attraction (Kitshoff 2004, p. 237). The strong emphasis on Afrikaans as main language has softened since 2001, but the festival remains a predominantly Afrikaans event. Oudtshoorn attracts about 1,000 artists in approximately 200 productions and exhibitions during the festival every year over eight days. The festival accommodates both visual and performing arts: drama, cabaret, musical theatre, classical music, jazz and light music. Open-air concerts have also become a unique characteristic of the KKNK (Anon. 2001, p. 2). In 2010 the estimated economic impact totalled R108.7 million, emphasising the festival's valuable financial contribution to the host community (Erasmus et al., 2010, p. 36).

With this considerable economic impact in mind, festivals such as the KKNK are threatened mainly by two problems: (1) the growth in the number of festivals/events; and (2) a decline in ticket sales. Currently there are over 300 festivals/events of various kinds held in South Africa throughout the year, and new ones keep being added to the calendar (Van Zyl and Strydom 2007, p. 121). This leads to an overabundance in the festival market and a decline in ticket sales, which has a direct impact on the sustainability of a festival such as the KKNK, since these festivals compete for the same market with a similar festival product/programme. The problem is also evident in the decline in ticket sales for the shows and productions at the KKNK. Figure 1 indicates the number of tickets sold for shows/productions at the KKNK over a period of 16 years. The ticket sales for shows/productions have shown a decline from 2004 onwards and, compared to 2004, ticket sales declined significantly by 43.6% in 2008. In 2009 ticket sales started to recover and indicated a positive increase for the first time in five years. This growth was not sustained, however, and in 2010 ticket sales yet again showed a decrease of 31,241 tickets compared to 2009, resulting in the lowest sales in tickets in 12 years.

This decline in ticket sales shows that the KKNK is in the decline phase of the festival's life cycle. This has led to serious concerns regarding the future sustainability and profitability of the KKNK and requires the festival to either modify its programme/product, or to identify the reasons for the current target market's lack of interest in buying tickets for the festival shows/productions. Possible reasons for this decline could include the following: a festival programme that does not fulfil visitors' needs; a new market needs to be approached; expensive ticket prices and entrance fees; or ineffective marketing done at the wrong time. Frisby and Getz (1989, p. 7) noted that all tourism products, including events/festivals, go through successive stages of growth, but their programme/product and marketing efforts must also respond to changes in demand. With market research, and more specifically with market segmentation, these changes can be determined and this will assist festival marketers and organisers to provide a relevant programme. The reason for this is that, in order to define marketing, the starting point is the visitor (Tassiopoulos 2000, p. 264) and this involves the process of continuously identifying and meeting the needs and wants of potential and existing customers and clients (Getz 1997, p. 250). This process is better known as market segmentation. The segmentation process is illustrated in Figure 2, which shows that it usually consists of three main steps, namely segmentation, targeting and positioning. In a festival context, the target market is segmented and the most viable festival visitor segment is targeted before the appropriate marketing medium and message are selected and designed. Generally the emphasis in tourism positioning falls on the four P's of marketing: product, price, promotion and place; however, the question of when to promote is disregarded. With this in mind, Alvarez and Asugman (2006, p. 320) and Kruger and Saayman (2012) indicate that it is important to understand how visitors differ regarding their information seeking and planning styles. Visitors go through their own decision-making process before they decide to attend a particular festival and festival organisers should be aware of this process before target marketing and positioning can take place, since this will allow them to position and promote the festival at the appropriate time.


Tourism literature suggests that decision-making variables and individual information search differences could be used as a basis to better discriminate among types of visitors (Bieger and Laesser 2001, Decrop and Snelders 2005). Along with cost-effective marketing, Walker and Walker (2011, p. 93) indicate the following effects of promotion at the right time on the buying process of visitors: increased awareness of product or services and how this can satisfy needs; positive disposition toward the product or service; and increased probability of purchase or use, resulting in competitive advantage. Socio-demographic and behavioural variables should thus be complemented by decision-making variables such as information seeking, and combined they can form a typology of decision-making styles (Decrop and Snelders 2005, p. 123). For a festival such as the KKNK, this can especially aid the festival organisers and marketers not only to attract the right target market, but to communicate the appropriate marketing message at the right time. It is thus relevant to know when visitors at the KKNK make their decision to attend the festival and how they perceive the various sources they use for planning, and to determine whether these perceptions can be related to their personal characteristics and choice of festival and shows attended (Alvarez and Asugman 2006, p. 322).

The purpose of this study is therefore to divide visitors to the KKNK into segments on the basis of their decision-making time. To discover when the decision was made to attend the festival, it analysed the way festival-goers (known as 'festinos' in South Africa) search for information and how long they take to plan. This information can especially aid festival organisers to market the festival at the right time, with the appropriate marketing message to the right target market, which in return can lead to an increase in ticket sales. The article is structured as follows: the literature is reviewed, the research method is outlined, the results are discussed, the implications of the study are considered, and finally conclusions are drawn and recommendations made.

2. Literature review

Each festival has a high degree of uniqueness, which distinguishes it from permanent attractions, and this should be marketed and communicated intensively (Walker and Walker 2011, p. 276). According to Hall (1997, p. 136), 'marketing is that function of the festival manager that can keep in touch with the event's visitors, read their needs and motivation, develop products (festival programme) that meet these needs, and build a communication programme which expresses the festivals' purpose and objectives.' Walker and Walker (2011, p. 522) add that 'marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual (festino) and organisational (festival) objectives.' Bowdin et al. (2001, p. 114) list the following marketing activities that a festival manager undertakes to produce a successful festival: analyse the needs of the target market to establish appropriate event components, or 'products'; establishes what other competitive events could satisfy similar needs to ensure that the event has a unique selling point; predicts how many visitors will attend the festival; predicts at what times visitors made their decision to attend the festival; estimates what price visitors would be willing to pay to attend; decides on the type of quantity of promotional activities telling the target market about the festival; decides on how tickets to the festival can reach the target market and establishes the degree of success of the marketing activities. Getz (1997, pp. 304-305) indicated that a marketing strategy must include the communications tasks necessary to influence the consumers' buying process, that is informing, educating, persuading and reminding. All communications must therefore be coordinated from the marketing goals and these goals may vary according to the particular type of festival (Tassiopoulos 2000, p. 276). For example, there is often a need for intense, short-term promotion of the upcoming event, whereas one-time events must manage communications carefully to achieve early awareness and ensure a peaking of demand as the event nears (Getz 1997, pp. 304-305).

In order to manage this, the process of market segmentation is used. Mahoney (1983, p. 5), McIntosh and Goeldner (1990, p. 407); Lawton (2001, p. 114); Andrews and Currim (2003, p. 177), Kyle et al. (2002, p. 5), and Walker and Walker (2011, p. 522) define market segmentation as the process of: (a) dividing the present and potential market into homogeneous groups called segments based on meaningful characteristics; (b) profiling the segments; (c) analysing the segments; and (d) formulating a marketing strategy and designing marketing mixes (promotion, product, and pricing efforts) that satisfy the special needs, desires and behaviours for each segment. The tourism literature has proposed a large number of segmentation typologies of festival visitors (Decrop and Snelders 2005, p. 121). Widely used are demographic, behavioural and geographical as well as economical criteria (Kim et al., 2007, Spencer and Holecek 2007, Tassiopoulos and Haydam 2008, Tkaczynski et al., 2009, Xia et al., 2009, Koc and Altinay 2007, Jang and Ham 2009, Funk and Bruun 2007, Galloway et al., 2008; Lee and Lee 2009, Decrop and Snelders 2005). Kruger (2010, p. 128) has indicated various variables that can be used for successful market segmentation specifically at festivals--each of these with their own advantages and disadvantages. These segmentation variables are indicated in Figure 3; these criteria can be used separately or in combination.

As illustrated in Figure 3, researchers or event organisers could, for example, use variables such as spending, gender, income, reason for visiting and genres attended in order to segment the market. However, although these segmentation criteria can highlight different aspects of the festival visitors' life, without an integrated theory of how to combine them, they are like separate pieces of a puzzle (Decrop and Snelders 2005, p. 121). Therefore, a more theoretical typology is proposed which focuses on the visitors' decision-making style and time (Chen and Gursoy 2000, Decrop and Snelders 2005, Mok and Iverson 2000, Cole and Illum 2009, Kruger and Saayman 2012). This is because the way visitors take decisions is an important element of segmentation (Bronner and De Hoog 1985). Segmenting the leisure market on the basis of the individual's information search is especially appropriate in tourism, because of the reliance of this industry on information (Alvarez and Asugman 2006, p. 320). Moreover, visitors' awareness, selection and choice of tourism products, such as attending a festival, depend heavily on the information provided and that is used by the visitor (Bieger and Laesser 2001). This is because the primary motivation behind information search is the desire to make better consumption choices (Engel et al., 1995). For this reason, determining visitors' information-search behaviour and when they make their decision to attend is critical to marketers who seek to better understand the differential needs driving visitors' decision-making processes and associated information searches, so that they may communicate product (festival) benefits effectively and efficiently (Fodness and Murray 1999, p. 230). Hence it is important to understand how visitors' information seeking and planning styles differ (Alvarez and Asugman 2006, p. 320, Kruger and Saayman 2012) and for this reason, decision-making style can be added as a segmentation variable along with the other variables in Figure 3.


Fodness and Murray (1997, 1999, p. 221), Chen and Gursoy (2000, p. 192) suggest that information search is predominantly external rather than internal. 'Internal search' means that previous experiences and acquired knowledge are used as the basis for planning a visit to a festival. The perceived adequacy of (the results of the) internal search determines whether an external search will take place. If what the visitor remembers proves insufficient for making a trip decision, then attention and effort will be directed towards an external search (Engel et al., 1995, Schmidt and Spreng 1996, Vogt and Fesenmaier 1998, Vogt and Stewart 1998; Chen and Gursoy (2000), Gursoy and McCleary 2004). 'External search' involves information obtained from four basic sources: (1) neutral (tourist offices, travel guides); (2) commercial (sales people, travel agents, brochures); (3) social (relatives, friends, other social networks); and (4) printed or electronic mass media (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, Internet) (Van Raaij and Crotts 1994, Fodness and Murray 1998).

According to Bargeman and Van der Poel (2006, p. 710), repeat visits to the same festival probably require no more than a routine problem-solving process. Visitors can use internal sources for decision-making and do not have to evaluate alternative festivals. Pre-visit information is not needed, because past experiences provide an adequate basis for decision making. Travel decisions can be made quickly and with little apparent effort (Snepenger and Snepenger 1993, Witt and Moutinho 1995, Fodness and Murray 1999, Gursoy and McCleary 2004). In this case, the repetitive character of the festival visit implies no previous reasoning or explicit choice considerations. Routine decision-making visitors can be seen as making their decision either in the absence of any information (a process that could be described as 'inertia'), or without actively searching for information but in fact absorbing it passively (a process that could be described as 'confirmation').

Referring to the 'confirmation' type of information gatherer or searcher, Fodness and Murray (1997) say that these potential visitors take either a shorter time to plan but use more sources, or take a longer time using fewer sources (which they refer to as 'time-limited' and 'source-limited' strategies, respectively). In a further study (Fodness and Murray 1999, p. 222) these authors say that limited decision-making, for example, when the visitor plans variations to regular travel behaviour such as taking a new route or engaging in a new activity at a familiar festival, requires somewhat more time and effort; Bargeman and Van der Poel (2006, p. 710) confirm this view that limited decision-making takes more time and effort than the routine type. It is also likely that an experienced visitor will shift towards a more limited decision-making process, although the choice of festival may not have become a matter of routine (Fodness and Murray 1998, 1999, Gursoy and McCleary 2004). If so, the information search is likely to be more internal than external (Bargeman and Van der Poel 2006, p. 708). On the other hand, when planning a first-time visit considerable time and effort are devoted to searching primarily external information sources, since the trip is unfamiliar (Fodness and Murray 1999, p. 222).

However, not all festinos (whether regular or first-time) will plan intricately and compare festivals, packages, advertisements and prices. Some make impulse decisions, many of them attracted at the last minute by discounted prices (Page and Connell 2009, p. 77). March and Woodside (2005), p. 907) add that impulse festinos' decisions are almost entirely spontaneous, while partial planners exhibit careful and insightful purchase behaviour by engaging in detailed searches and being price sensitive. March and Woodside (2005, p. 907) refer to Stern's four categories (1962) of unplanned purchases: pure impulse buying, characterized by a total lack of pre-planning; reminder impulse buying, where the purchase is sparked by previous personal experience or recall; suggestion impulse buying, where the purchaser sees the product for the first time and buys it; and planned impulse buying, where the purchaser travels to a destination with the expectation and intention of making some purchases other than those planned, dependent on such things as price and specials.

In the case of a one-off event like an annual festival, the decision-making process starts when visitors identify a need to attend it, look for information about where it is held and what it offers, consider its cost, weigh up the alternative festivals and finally make a choice. After they have attended the festival, their experience of course influences future purchasing decisions (Goossens 2000, Gursoy and Gavear 2003, Page and Connell 2009, p. 76, Cook et al., 2010, p. 32). In short, visitors spend a lot of time and go to a great deal of trouble before they arrive at a festival of their choice (Bargeman and Van der Poel 2006, p. 709). Chen and Gursoy (2000) and Fodness and Murray (1998) add that information search is one of the first steps in visitors' decision-making process for on-site decisions such as selecting accommodation, transport, activities and tours. The search for information thus plays a very important role in visitors' decision to attend a festival.

In an early study Schul and Crompton (1983) conclude that visitors can be divided into active and passive planners according to the length of time they take to plan and the number of relevant organisations they consult. Cohen (1972) identifies four types of visitor on the basis of preference for familiarity and need for novelty: the organised mass, the individual mass, the explorer and the drifter. Snepenger (1987) adapts this typology and distinguishes three categories that differ significantly according to when visitors plan their trips and what information they use in planning. Fodness and Murray (1997) provide insights into visitors' decision-making behaviour by segmenting them according to the intensity and duration of their search, and in later studies they identify three types of vacation decision-making process: extended, limited and routine (Fodness and Murray 1998, 1999). Following Fodness and Murray (1997), Kruger and Saayman (2012) make a distinction between Spontaneous decision makers, Limited decision makers, Extended decision-makers and Routine decision-makers in their study of visitors to a festival.

The results from these studies have shown that classifying visitors into groups based on their decision-making style makes it possible to understand their behaviour and thus to choose the appropriate products and communication strategies for each group. Marketing can also be done at the right time, resulting in fewer unnecessary expenses on futile marketing attempts. Understanding the visitors' varying characteristics and requirements will furthermore help the organisers of KKNK to evaluate how well the festival meets their needs and so make decisions about the festival programme, infrastructure, resource allocation and planning, especially with regard to their marketing, in a more sustainable and competitive way (Becken and Gnoth 2004). Ultimately, knowing the decision-making style and time of visitors can lead to an increase in ticket sales, resulting in a competitive and sustainable festival.

3. Method of research

This research was conducted by means of a structured questionnaire. This section describes the questionnaire, the sampling method and survey, and the statistical analysis.

3.1 The questionnaire used in the survey

The questionnaire was divided into three sections. Section A captured demographic details (gender, home language, age, occupation, home province) and spending behaviour (number of persons paid for, length of stay, times attended and expenditure). Section B captured information specific to visitors' behaviour during the event (preferred accommodation, initiator of attendance, number of tickets purchased, preferred genres and when the decision was made to attend). Section C measured 24 motivational items on a five-point Likert scale, where: 1 = not important at all; 2 = less important; 3 = important; 4 = very important; and 5 = extremely important. This section also asked about visitors' awareness of the sponsors of the festival, other festivals attended as well as the role of arts festivals in the country (12 statements on a five-point Likert scale of agreement, where: 1 = totally disagree; 2 = do not agree; 3 = neutral; 4 = agree; and 5 = totally agree).

3.2 Sampling method and survey applied at the KKNK

In total 479 questionnaires were completed over a period of five days (4-9 April 2011) by means of simple random sampling. In a population of 100,000 (N), 398 respondents (n) are seen as representative and result in a 95% level of confidence with a [+ or -] 5% sampling error (Israel 2009, p. 6). Since approximately 85,0000 visitors attended the KKNK in 2010 (Slabbert et al., 2010, p. 2), the number of completed questionnaires is greater than the required number of questionnaires. All questionnaires were completed at the main festival grounds and various venues in Oudtshoorn where fieldworkers moved around to minimise bias. Questionnaires were also progressively handed out towards the end of the festival to give a more detailed account of visitor spending.

3.3 Statistical analysis used to investigate the data and results

MicrosoftTM Excel was used to capture data and SPSS (SPSS Inc. 2007) to analyse it. The analysis was done in three stages. First, a general profile of the respondents was compiled. Second, a principal axis factor analysis, using an Oblimin rotation with Kaiser normalisation, was performed on the 24 motivation items to explain the variance-covariance structure of a set of variables through a few linear combinations of these variables. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy was also used to determine whether the covariance matrix was suitable for factor analysis. Kaiser's criteria for the extraction of all factors with eigen values larger than one were used because they were considered to explain a significant amount of variation in the data. In addition, all items with a factor loading above 0.3 were considered as contributing to a factor, and all with loadings lower than 0.3 as not correlating significantly with this factor (Steyn 2000). In addition, any item that cross-loaded on two factors with factor loadings greater than 0.3 was categorised in the factor where interpretability was best. A reliability coefficient (Cronbach's alpha) was computed for each factor to estimate the internal consistency of each factor. All factors with a reliability coefficient above 0.6 were considered as acceptable in this study. The average inter-item correlations were also computed as another measure of reliability - these, according to Clark and Watson (1995), should lie between 0.15 and 0.55.

Third, a distinction was made between visitors who made a spontaneous or a planned decision to attend the festival. Independent t-tests, two-way frequency tables, chi-square tests were used to investigate any significant differences between the two groups. The study used demographic variables (gender, home language, country of origin, age, occupation and province of origin), behavioural variables (length of stay, type of accommodation, transport, expenditure, other festivals attended and initiator of attendance) and motivational factors to examine whether there were statistically significant differences between the two groups. Cross-tabulations with chi-square were further employed to profile these groups demographically. The results of the statistical analyses are discussed in the next section.

4. Results of the research

This section provides an overview of the profile of the respondents at the KKNK, discusses the results of the factor analysis (travel motives) and presents the results of the t-tests and cross-tabulations with chi-square tests.

4.1 Profile of respondents surveyed at the KKNK

Table 1 shows that more female respondents participated in the survey at the KKNK. Respondents were predominantly Afrikaans-speaking, on average 47-years-old and originated from the Western Cape. Respondents spent an average of four days at the festival and four nights in Outdshoorn, they travelled in a group of four persons and were financially responsible for an average of three persons during their visit. During the festival they spent an average of R3981.78 per group and had attended the festival an average of six times.

4.2 Results from the factor analysis: visitor motives to visit the KKNK

The pattern matrix of the principal axis factor analysis using an Oblimin rotation with Kaiser normalisation identified three motivational factors (Table 2). These factors were labelled according to similar characteristics and accounted for 54% of the total variance. All motivational factors had relatively high reliability coefficients, ranging from 0.83 (the lowest) to 0.88 (the highest). The average inter-item correlation coefficients with values between 0.36 and 0.52 also imply internal consistency for all factors. Moreover, all items loaded on a factor with a loading greater than 0.3 and the relatively high factor loadings indicate a reasonably high correlation between the factors and their component items. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy of 0.90 also indicates that patterns of correlation are relatively compact and yield distinct and reliable factors (Field 2005, p. 640). Barlett's test of sphericity also reached statistical significance (p <0.001), supporting the factorability of the correlation matrix (Pallant 2007, p. 197).

Factor scores were calculated as the average of all items contributing to a specific factor in order to interpret them on the original five-point Likert scale of measurement. As Table 2 shows, the following motives were identified: Festival attributes and socialisation, Festival attractiveness and Festival shows and productions. Festival attributes and socialisation (Factor 1) obtained the highest mean value of 3.73, a reliability coefficient of 0.83, an average inter-item correlation of 0.36 and was considered as the most important motive to attend the KKNK. This was followed by Festival shows and productions (3.36) and Festival attractiveness (3.06).

4.3 Results from the independent t-test: decision-making time of visitors to the KKNK

As shown in Table 3, respondents were divided into two groups based on their decision-making time. The majority of the respondents (59%) made their decision to attend the KKNK more than a month ago, while 41% made the decision to attend spontaneously. These findings were used to classify decisions as 'spontaneous' and 'extended and routine,' following Fodness and Murray (1998, 1999) and Kruger and Saayman (2012). The respondents in the present study were therefore labelled as Spontaneous decision-makers (spontaneous and less than a month ago) and Extended and routine decision-makers (more than a month ago).

Independent t-tests were done for determine whether there are significant differences between the two decision-making groups. The significant results are discussed in the next section.

As shown in Table 4, there are significant differences between the two decision-making clusters based on number of people paid for (p= 0.033), days at the festival (p =0.001), nights in Oudtshoorn (p =0.001), number of tickets purchased (p =0.003), spending per person (p =0.001), the travel motive Festival attributes and socialisation (p =0.001) and the Festival role factor (p =0.036). Number of previous visits (p= 0.062) and the travel motive Festival shows and productions (p =0.053) also indicated significant differences at a 10% level of significance. Extended and routine decision-makers are financially responsible for more people (an average of 3 persons), spend more days at the festival (an average of five days), consequently stay more nights in Oudtshoorn (an average of five nights), purchase more tickets (an average of seven tickets), have a higher spending per person (an average of R2402.64), have attended the KKNK more times (an average of six times), are motivated more by Festival attributes and socialisation (mean value of 3.84) as well as Festival shows and productions (mean value of 3.42) compared to Spontaneous decision-makers, who are financially responsible for only two persons, spend fewer days at the festival (an average of 4 days), have a shorter length of stay in Oudtshoorn (an average of three nights), have attended the festival fewer times (an average of five times), purchase fewer tickets (an average of four tickets), have a lower spending per person (average of R1316.67) and are motivated less by all three travel motives.

There were no statistical significant differences based on age (p =0.621), group size (p =0.610) and the travel motive Festival attractiveness (p =0.897). Both decision-making groups are in their mid-40s, travel in a group of between four and five persons, and are motivated less by Festival attractiveness compared to the other two travel motives.

4.4 Cross-tabulations and chi-square test results: differences between decision-making groups

As Table 5 shows, there were statistically significant differences between the two decision-making groups when it came to home language (p= 0.035), province of origin (p =0.002), type of accommodation (p =0.001), initiator of attendance (p = 0.042) and drama (p =0.001), children's theatre (p =0.051), music theatre and cabaret (p =0.005) and comedy (p =0.001) as preferred show/genre. These significant differences are discussed below.

- Home language: More Extended and routine decision-makers at the KKNK were Afrikaans speaking compared to Spontaneous decision-makers, who also spoke English and other languages.

--Province of origin: While both decision-making groups originated from either the Western Cape or Gauteng Provinces, significantly more Extended and routine decision-makers originated from the Western Cape, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the North West Province while Spontaneous decision-makers travelled from KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

--Type of accommodation: Spontaneous decision-makers tend to be local residents. Those who made use of paid accommodation mainly preferred to rent a full house during the festival. Extended and routine decision-makers preferred to make use of paid accommodation, especially guesthouses or B&Bs, festival guesthouses, hotels, camping or the train at the station.

--Initiator of attendance: Extended and routine decision-makers initiated their attendance at the festival themselves or were influenced by the media, friends, family and work compared to Spontaneous decision-makers, whose attendances were mainly initiated by their spouses.

--Preferred shows/genres: Corresponding with the number of tickets purchased for paid shows/genres (Table 4), significantly more Extended and routine decision-makers preferred drama, children's theatre, music theatre and cabaret and comedy productions compared to the Spontaneous decision-makers.

5. Findings and implications

The results of this research suggest the following findings and implications. Firstly, the study confirms that the decision to attend the festival is taken at different times prior to the event. For this reason promotion should be done during these critical intervals. As shown in Figure 4, two markets with specific time frames were identified, namely Extended and routine decision-makers and Spontaneous decision-makers, corroborating the findings of Schul and Crompton (1983), Cohen (1972), Snepenger (1987), Fodness and Murray (1997, 1998, 1999) as well as Kruger and Saayman (2012). These segments, however, contradict the findings by Cohen (1972) and Stern (1962) that identified four decision-making groups that differ significantly from these findings. One of the possible reasons for this contradiction could be that since Cohen (1972) and Stern (1962) conducted their research, technology has changed significantly making it easier to access information. This study provides evidence that decision-making time could be a useful basis for segmenting groups, thereby providing valuable information for event organisers. This approach corroborates research by Chen and Gursoy (2000), Mok and Iverson (2000), Bieger and Laesser (2001), Decrop and Snelders (2005), and Cole and Illum (2009).


Added to the above, the results show that decision-making time differs from one event or attraction to the next. In a comparison with previous research it becomes clear that the complexity of the event or attraction, knowledge or previous experience, availability of information and duration of stay play a significant role in decision-making.

Secondly, from the research it is clear that 59% of festinos made their decision to attend more than a month in advance (Extended and routine decision-makers) and 41% are Spontaneous decision-makers. The Extended and routine decision-makers are the most viable target market, since they tend to be higher spenders, travel in larger groups, stay longer, are avid supporters of the paid productions at the festival and tend to be loyal and return festinos (see Figure 4). Based on this information, there are two intervals when promotion should take place, namely three to four months prior to the event in order to attract this particular segment, and less than a month before the festival as well as while the event is taking place. From a sustainability and economic point of view, event managers should consider the Extended and routine decision-makers as the primary market. The main reason for this is that this market segment buys more tickets for shows and thereby they not only support the arts but make their bookings well in advance. From a business point of view, this helps with cash flow and makes planning for different shows easier in terms of venues and identifying profitable shows. Extended and routine decision-makers are also loyal festinos; therefore an extensive marketing campaign is not a requirement. This market contradicts Bargeman and Van der Pool's (2006) statement that festinos spend a lot of time and go through a great deal of trouble before they arrive at a festival. Therefore their information search is less complex and intense. The focus of the promotional tools directed at them should rather be the festival programme. Extended and routine decision-makers also tend to make their decision to attend the festival after the previous years' festival. The festival organisers should therefore take the needs and preferences of this market into consideration when the festival is held in order to offer visitors what they want and ensure a satisfying festival experience. For this reason continuous research should be done.

Thirdly, Spontaneous decision-makers account for 41% of the respondents and should not be disregarded as they have the potential to become loyal visitors. This implies that publicity and continuous communication, especially when the festival is taking place, remain paramount for ensuring good attendance at an arts festival. Festival attributes and socialisation as well as the productions at the festival should be emphasised in the marketing messages in the weeks and days prior and during the festival in order to encourage spontaneous visitors to attend the festival and purchase tickets for the shows and productions.

6. Conclusion

The purpose of this research was to address the critical question of when to promote the festival in order to attract the market that buys tickets for shows and by doing so not only support the arts but help to sustain the festival. With an increase in festivals in an extremely competitive environment, it has become paramount to plan the promotion strategy carefully. Results clearly indicate when to promote, which is an aspect that textbooks in general neglect. Most textbooks and research on the topic highlight the importance of promotional campaigns but not when promotion should take place. From a practical point of view, if event organisers promote too soon, visitors might lose interest and this means a waste of scarce resources. If they promote too late, then this research clearly showed that missing the right market could be a lost opportunity and this in turn could have far-reaching implications. This research therefore used decision-making time as a variable to segment visitors or festinos to a major national arts festival and clearly indicated that this innovative approach is a useful one in identifying not only the market that buys show tickets but also when decisions are made. Results can help event organisers to plan their promotion campaign, which could contribute towards effective and efficient use of resources. The research also contributes not only to the discourse on the importance of promotion of arts festivals, but also when and how to promote. Future research should address aspects such as the length of festinos' search and what information they require for decision making.

6.1 Limitation

One limitation to this research is that the lack of similar studies, especially on arts festivals, made comparisons and generalisation of results difficult.

6.2 Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the NRF for their financial support for this project. The authors would also like to thank the organisers of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, for allowing this research to be conducted and for partial funding of the project. Last but not least, we would like to thank all the fieldworkers and respondents who participated in the survey.



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Martinette Kruger * and Melville Saayman

TREES (Tourism Research in Economic, Environs and Society), North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

* Corresponding author. Email:
Table 1. Profile of respondents at the KKNK.

Category                    Profile of respondents

Gender                      Male (33%); Female (67%)
Home language               Afrikaans (95%); English (4%), Other (1%)
Age                         Average age of 47 years
Province of residence       Western Cape (59%), Eastern Cape (19%),
                              Gauteng (10%)
Number of people paid for   Average of three persons
Group size                  Average of four persons
Number of visits to KKNK    Average of six visits
Days at festival            Average of four days
Nights in Oudtshoorn        Average of four nights
Expenditure per group       Average of R3981.78 per group

Table 2. Results of factor analysis of KKNK visitors' motives.

                                         Factor     Mean    Reliability
Motivation factors and items             loading   value    coefficient

Factor 1: Festival attributes and                   3.73       0.83

To relax                                  0.76
To get away from my normal routine        0.62
Sociable festival                         0.61
The festival provides a unique holiday    0.48
To see well-known performers              0.42
It is primarily an Afrikaans festival     0.42
To spend time with friends                0.38
KKNK is different to other festivals      0.38
To spend time with family                 0.34

Factor 2: Festival attractiveness                   3.06       0.84

To the benefit of my children             0.73
To support the stalls                     0.71
To buy art                                0.68
It is the closest festival for me         0.65
To explore the environment                0.60
To meet new people                        0.49
To see artists in person                  0.46
It is an annual commitment                0.30

Factor 3: Festival shows and                        3.36       0.88

Variety of productions                    0.76
Quality productions                       0.75
The introduction of new flagship          0.66
  productions at the festival
To attend as many productions as          0.61
To improve my knowledge regarding         0.60
The festival promotes cultural            0.40
The festival is value for money           0.36

TOTAL VARIANCE EXPLAINED                   54%

                                         Average inter-item
Motivation factors and items                correlation

Factor 1: Festival attributes and               0.36

To relax
To get away from my normal routine
Sociable festival
The festival provides a unique holiday
To see well-known performers
It is primarily an Afrikaans festival
To spend time with friends
KKNK is different to other festivals
To spend time with family

Factor 2: Festival attractiveness               0.40

To the benefit of my children
To support the stalls
To buy art
It is the closest festival for me
To explore the environment
To meet new people
To see artists in person
It is an annual commitment

Factor 3: Festival shows and                    0.52

Variety of productions
Quality productions
The introduction of new flagship
  productions at the festival
To attend as many productions as
To improve my knowledge regarding
The festival promotes cultural
The festival is value for money


Table 3. Decision-making time of visitors to KKNK.

Decision to attend the festival               Percentage

Spontaneous decision and less than            41%
  a month ago (Spontaneous decision-makers)
More than a month ago (Extended and           59%
  routine decision-makers)

Table 4. T-test results.

Variables                          Spontaneous

                                Mean     Std. Dev.    N

Age                             45.26      16.89     188
Group size                       4.32       5.46     178
Number of people paid for        2.25       1.74     184
Days at festival                 3.78       2.46     187
Nights in Oudtshoorn             3.45       3.04     150
Number of previous visits        5.41       4.89     186
Number of tickets                4.36      10.92     138
Spending per person          R1316.67    1710.23     175

Travel motives
Festival attributes and          3.54       0.97     189
Festival attractiveness          3.08       1.10     184
Festival shows and               3.22       1.11     175

Variables                         Extended and routine

                                Mean     Std. Dev.     N

Age                            46.01      15.18       266
Group size                      4.55       3.90       263
Number of people paid for       2.65       2.06       268
Days at festival                4.88       2.20       266
Nights in Oudtshoorn            4.63       2.75       245
Number of previous visits       6.21       4.13       269
Number of tickets               7.28       7.55       224
Spending per person         R2402.64    2560.39       260

Travel motives
Festival attributes and         3.84       0.86       266
Festival attractiveness         3.04       1.07       259
Festival shows and              3.42       1.01       258

Variables                    t-value      p

Age                          0.495      0.621
Group size                   0.510      0.610
Number of people paid for    2.134      0.033 *
Days at festival             5.001      0.001 *
Nights in Oudtshoorn         4.009      0.001 *
Number of previous visits    1.870      0.062 **
Number of tickets            3.003      0.003 *
Spending per person          4.920      0.001 *

Travel motives
Festival attributes and      3.395      0.001 *
Festival attractiveness      0.130      0.897
Festival shows and           1.937      0.053 **

Note. * indicates significance at a 5% level; ** indicates
significance at a 10% level.

Table 5.   Chi-square test results of visitor characteristics.

                            DECISION-MAKING TIME

                            Spontaneous    Extended and       CHI
                            decision-    routine decision-   SQUARE
CHARACTERISTICS               makers          makers         VALUE

Home language                                                6.691
Afrikaans                      40%              60%
English                        67%              33%
Other                          67%              33%

Province                                                     25.955
Western Cape                   48%              52%
Gauteng                        45%              55%
Eastern Cape                   23%              77%
Free State                     36%              64%
KwaZulu-Natal                  67%              33%
Mpumalanga                     15%              85%
Northern Cape                  50%              50%
North West                     22%              78%
Limpopo                        80%              20%
Outside RSA borders            50%              50%

Type of                                                      41.888
Local resident                 66%              34%
Family or friends              49%              52%
Registered guesthouse          36%              64%
B&B                            37%              63%
Festival guesthouse            22%              78%
during the festival)           31%              69%
Hotel                          22%              78%
Camping                        65%              36%
Rent a house                   24%              76%
Train at station               40%              60%
Day visitor                    40%              60%

Initiator of attendance                                      13.058
Self                           40%              59%
Friends                        47%              53%
Media                          25%              75%
Spouse                         52%              48%
Family                         23%              77%
Work                           46%              54%

Preferred shows/genres
Drama                       Yes = 29%;      Yes = 71%;       16.692
                             No = 49%        No = 52%
Children's theatre          Yes = 24%;      Yes = 76%;       3.800
                             No = 43%        No = 57%
Music theatre and           Yes = 33%;      Yes = 67%;       7.717
cabaret                      No = 47%        No = 54%
Comedy                      Yes = 30%;      Yes = 48%;       12.824
                             No = 48%        No = 53%

                                  SIG.     PHI-

Home language               2    0.035 *   0.121

Province                    9    0.002 *   0.239
Western Cape
Eastern Cape
Free State
Northern Cape
North West
Outside RSA borders

Type of                     9    0.001 *   0.309
Local resident
Family or friends
Registered guesthouse
Festival guesthouse
during the festival)
Rent a house
Train at station
Day visitor

Initiator of attendance     6    0.042 *   0.170

Preferred shows/genres
Drama                       1    0.001 *   0.191

Children's theatre          1    0.051 **  0.091

Music theatre and           1    0.005 *   0.130
Comedy                      1    0.001 *   0.167
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Author:Kruger, Martinette; Saayman, Melville
Publication:South African Theatre Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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