Visitor Profiles and Motivations for Visiting an Australian Wine Festival
journal contributionposted on 08.06.2017, 00:36 by Weiler, Betty, Truong, Minh, Griffiths, Maureen
The purpose of this paper is to profile visitors who attended Winter Wine Fest (WWFest) 2003 and their motivations for visiting the festival, as a basis for informing marketing and management recommendations aimed at improving the festival experience of visitors as well as contributing to the literature on special events in the wine tourism industry. The paper also provides a foundation for further research, including replication of this study's methods at other festivals and wine tourism events and suggestions for exploring variables not included in this study. In order to do this the study adopted a cross-sectional survey strategy, using a 35-item on-site self-completing questionnaire. The instrument included slightly adapted versions of existing motivational scales and subscales, as well as measured social group membership and several other socio-demographic variables, many of which were designed to facilitate comparisons with Bureau of Tourism Research data. Based on the 273 respondents to the survey, the paper provides a socio-demographic profile of the average respondent together with frequencies and percentages on a number of variables, with some multivariate analysis of motivational differences based on social group membership. The profile of the 'average' WWFest visitor was found to be female, working full-time, aged between 45 and 64 years old, and living in a household that has an annual income between $78,000 and $103,999. These demographics reflect the profile of the `average' wine enthusiast. The visitor, in all likelihood, is attending the festival for the first time, having decided to visit it only a week out from the event after hearing about it via word-of-mouth recommendations. Travelling from metropolitan Melbourne, the average visitor is primarily attending the festival to gain knowledge and expand his/her intellect about wine (that is, for cultural exploration purposes), and to a lesser extent, to socialise and because of the festival's novel premise. Visitors can be segmented based on the social group within which they visit the festival, the largest proportion visiting with friends (48%), followed by couples (33%), families (15%) and only four percent attending solo. There were significant differences between these segments in the motivations to attend the festival, with family groups more likely to be driven by kinship-related motives (e.g. the opportunity to do something the family could do together) in contrast to those who visited with friends, who were more likely to be express motives associated with known-group socialisation (e.g. to be with others who enjoy similar things). The visitor profile data together with the motivational results suggest that festival organisers should find ways to differentiate their product and improve their marketing to provide themselves with a competitive advantage over the plethora of leisure and recreation activities available to consumers. In order to survive the increasingly competitive tourism industry, festival marketing should be informed by an understanding of the consumer (target market). If a festival organiser can design a festival that targets particular markets based on their distinct differences (for example, targeting the differences between the social groupings of couples versus friendship groups versus families), then they are better positioned to facilitate favourable experiences and repeat visitation amongst its target audiences.