A critical evaluation of market segmentation at national arts festivals in South Africa
The Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) and the Aardklop National Arts Festival (Aardklop) are two of the largest and most popular arts festivals in South Africa. From a sustainability point of view, the primary aim of these festivals is to increase show ticket sales. However, show ticket sales have declined in recent years which, if this trend continues, will result in the discontinuation of these festivals. Market segmentation can assist the festivals' marketers/organisers to address this problem by identifying markets that buy show tickets, thereby supporting the festivals' shows/productions. With the latter in mind, the main purpose of this study was to critically evaluate different segmentation variables and approaches available to segment visitors who buy show tickets. Market segmentation is the process of dividing the festival market into smaller, more clearly defined groups that share similar needs, wants and characteristics. The more detailed the knowledge of the needs and motives of potential visitors, the closer the festivals can get to a customised festival programme creating greater satisfaction, long-term relationships, repeat visits and an increase in tickets supporting the shows/productions. Various variables/bases are used to segment a market to understand visitors' needs, motives and expectations. These variables/bases of segmentation include demographics;--expenditure, psychographies, decision behaviour, geographic, product specific, interests, travel motivations and communication channels. These variables give a complete visitors profile and are used to identify and compare different segments. Although these variables have been recommended as viable segmentation bases, there seems to be no single ideal base or variable that is the most effective segmentation criterion, since each variable serves a specific purpose. Therefore, the most appropriate variable or variables can only be selected if the objectives of the segmentation strategy are clearly defined. With the aim of the festivals in mind, it is therefore imperative to evaluate these segmentation variables and approaches critically to determine the most suitable variables to segment the festival market. To achieve the latter as well as the goal of this study, the study is divided into five articles. Research for all the articles was undertaken at the festivals and data obtained from 2008 were used for Aardklop, while data gathered in 2009 were used for the KKNK. Questionnaires were interview-administered and distributed randomly during the course of the festivals. In total, 495 questionnaires were completed in the visitor survey for Aardklop and 555 questionnaires for the KKNK. The variables travel motives, expenditure, visitor behaviour in terms of genre attendance and frequency of visitation were applied separately as well as in combination to address the goal of this study. Along with these variables, combination of statistical analysis or approaches including factor analysis, cluster analysis, regression analysis, AN OVA, as weI! as independent t-tests were applied to segment the festivals' markets. The best results were obtained when the variables and statistical analyses were used in combination rather than alone and provided valuable insights into the profile of the festivals' visitors. The contribution of this research therefore lies in the following: • Visitors at two similar Afrikaans festivals were, for the first time, analysed and compared using various methods of segmentation. • The methods used to segment the visitors were applied for the first time not only in this study, but also in the South African festival context. The following methods were applied for the first time in this study and can therefore be seen as a benchmark in South African festival research: Travel motives as a method of market segmentation; Distinguishing between genre attendees and non-genre attendees; Frequency of visitation and Segmenting and clustering festival visitors based on the genres attended. • The methods used in this study therefore add value to the tourism and festival industry and contribute to the body of knowledge about South African arts festival visitors and especially about the optimum approach to segment the festival market. • A combination of variables should be used to comprehensively segment the festival market with the aim of increasing show ticket sales.. • In addition, from a methodology point of view, this study has contributed to the following: Questionnaire design and development, selection of the sampling frame and size, as well as the type of statistical analysis used (separately and in combination). This study therefore greatly assists not only festival marketers/organisers but also future researchers. The information obtained from this study can be applied to comprehensively segment and profile the festival market and customise the festival programme based on visitor’s needs. This should lead to an increase in ticket sales, a greater economic impact and, ultimately, to the continuous sustainability of arts festivals in South Africa.