Why and how UK visitor attractions diversify their product to offer conference and event facilities
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Authors: Whitfield, J.E.
Journal: Journal of Convention and Event Tourism
Conference and event organizers are becoming increasingly competitive in choosing venues that are designed to make an impression. Visitor attractions are, therefore, no longer as much of an unconventional choice as they once were. In light of this realization, such venues have marketed themselves not only on the provision of cultural/entertainment facilities, but also conference and event facilities. Drawn from a wider survey population undertaken in 2001, this research is based upon a postal questionnaire of 75 visitor attractions from across the UK. The survey results identify that many visitor attractions first entered the market place to diversify their revenue base and did not invest heavily into providing a complete conference and event product. Indeed, the research identifies that cosmetic changes remain the most common refurbishment activities undertaken in order to initially create such facilities offered by many visitor attractions. However, the results highlight that since opening, visitor attractions have changed their strategies and are now willing to invest in their product. Such venues are increasingly aware of the intense competition within the market place and the need for investment to maintain a place in the ever-growing competitive environment and to be able to supply a unique product. As such, the extent of structural changes involving the conversion and/or extension of the physical building increased in popularity once the conference facilities had opened. Exponential smoothing identifies that between the decades 1990-1999 and 2010-2019, there is predicted growth in visitor attraction offering conference facilities of 76%.