Determining the attributes contributing to wedding venue selection
Van der Baan, D.
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The tourism industry consists of different sectors, one of which is the event sector. The events sector has over the years become established in both industry and in research and its growth is considered to be remarkable. Events have always been a part of humanity, as individuals tend to celebrate important milestones in their lives. Weddings, in particular, are classified according to the literature as a special, planned, personal and private event type. Wedding receptions specifically have become the focus point of the entire wedding, and; the wedding venue where the reception is held (and the ceremony too in many cases) accounts for approximately fifty percent of the wedding budget. The venue is undoubtedly a key element in the planning of any wedding event, and the needs and preferences of each prospective wedding couple differ in this regard. The selection of an ideal wedding venue and related facilities/services is therefore a complex decision-process that is influenced by many different aspects/factors/attributes. It is paramount for the managers/marketers of wedding venues to better understand the needs of prospective wedding couples when it comes to the selection of these wedding venues. It will provide wedding venue owners/managers with relevant and current market segment information in order to develop and market product offerings/packages that best cater for the needs of their market. This is especially important since wedding venues are one of the most important facets of the wedding industry; and their success and sustainability are threatened by various challenges. These challenges include economic conditions and social trends that affect wedding-related spending and behaviour; the intricate and complex decision-making processes of prospective wedding couples; and the highly competitive environment in which wedding venue managers/marketers must operate. Further to this, very limited research is available in the literature; and is more likely to be generally addressed in trade magazines. Therefore, the aim of this research study was to determine the attributes contributing to the wedding venue selection of prospective brides, specifically in the Gauteng province of South Africa. This province specifically operates in a highly competitive environment where prospective wedding couples have a great variety of venues to choose from. Four objectives were set to reach the aim of this study. The first objective was to provide a literature overview (Chapter 2) of the events sector; weddings as a form of special events; the history behind wedding traditions/practices; the changes in and latest wedding trends; and an overview of the South African wedding industry. The second objective was to provide a literature overview (Chapter 3) of marketing theory relating to consumer behaviour, purchase behaviour, and decision-making processes, with a special focus on the wedding industry and wedding/bridal consumers. Priority was granted to the aspects/factors/attributes that contribute to wedding venue selection. The third objective was to determine the key factors contributing to wedding venue selection of prospective wedding couples in the Gauteng province of South Africa. The data was collected from prospective wedding couples who attended the Jo'burg Wedding Expo at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg from 10th to 11th March 2018 and by means of an online-version of the questionnaire on renowned social media platforms relating to wedding planning for prospective wedding couples in the Gauteng province during March and April 2018. An exploratory factor analysis was done and seven valid key factors were identified, namely Well-managed facilities, Add-on services, On-site accommodation, Location capabilities/capacity, Affordability, Renowned venue, and Hands-on staff; followed by further ANOVAs and t-tests conducted on specific demographic and behavioural independent variables for further, more in-depth analyses. Based on these results, conclusions and recommendations are made for the managers/marketers of wedding venues in Gauteng province of South Africa. This research contributes to the sustainability and continuous growth of the South African wedding industry; and contributes to the broader base of consumer behaviour and wedding events literature.