Brand loyalty to arts festivals : case of KKNK
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the status of brand loyalty to art festivals with reference to Klein Karoo national Arts Festival (KKNK). This was achieved by firstly analysing and discussing the role of branding in tourism marketing. Secondly, a literature study was conducted to analyse the concept brand loyalty. Thirdly, the results of the empirical research were discussed and finally the conclusions were drawn from the research and recommendations were made with regard to visitors’ loyalty to the KKNK. Literature indicated that when marketing a tourism product or service it involves a complex bundle of value, which is intangible, inseparable, variable and perishable. Therefore the tourist’s experience with the product is important to keep in mind. Every tourist counts in the tourism industry therefore knowledge related to the needs and wants of the tourists. This can be determined by market research that is designed to collect, analyse, interpret and report information. The marketer can use this information to create a marketing mix, however, in the tourism and hospitality industry the four P’s (price, promotion, product, place) are extended with more P’s, namely people, physical environment, processes, packaging, participation, productservice mix, presentation mix and communication mix. The tourism product or festival should be positioned in the minds of the tourists and this cannot be achieved without branding the product. The brand name is used to identify and differentiate the product from its competitors. It also creates meaning for the tourist and establishes a competitive position in the minds of the tourist. Brand loyalty should be an important marketing goal of the tourism product because it reduces a brand’s vulnerability to competitors’ action and create a committed relationship with the tourists that insure lifelong visiting behaviour among tourists or positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Brand loyalty is build on six levels which can also be utilised to determine the visitors loyalty towards the brand and to assist the marketer on focussing on areas which should be improved to achieve a higher level of loyalty. The aim of the marketer should be to achieve the highest level of brand loyalty namely Resonance. For the purpose of this study the visitors’ profile and the current status of brand loyalty, were measured by means of a questionnaire and the objective of the questionnaire was to determine how loyal the visitors were to the KKNK. The questionnaires were distributed among the visitors at the KKNK in Oudtshoorn, in April 2009. Availability sampling was used to collect the data based on the fact that the respondents were conveniently available on the festival grounds and at show venues and willing to complete the questionnaires. A total of 422 questionnaires were completed during the festival. The factor analysis determined that Brand Feelings were the loyalty level that was rated the highest by the respondents to the KKNK. Therefore it was determined that the visitors’ loyalty to KKNK is currently at the fifth loyalty level and will have the most influence on the visitors when deciding to visit or recommend the KKNK. This is expected for a festival that is 15 years old however, the organisers of the KKNK can continue to improve the visitors loyalty until they reach the sixth and highest, loyalty level. This study contributes to the limited available literature on brand loyalty to arts festivals.
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