In the recent past, the popularity of events management and related projects has increased. According to Bladen (2010), the phenomenon involves the application of project management concepts to the administration of events and occasions. In this paper, the author will analyse a number of contemporary issues affecting the management of these undertakings.
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To this end, the author will review 6 articles reporting on various issues in this field. A key theme affecting the operations of a manager operating in this field in each of the articles will be identified and critically reviewed.
Contemporary Issues in Events Management
Media Representation of Volunteers at the Beijing Olympic Games (Charles Richard Bladen)
Volunteers play a major role in the management of activities related to many events. Bladen (2010) explores how the media represents volunteers in sports. Bladen analyses this issue from the perspective of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The major theme in this article is the portrayal of volunteers in mainstream media. According to Bladen (2010), the Chinese and foreign media houses varied in their coverage of assistants involved in the Olympics.
The local media portrayed these individuals as the force behind the success of the mega-event. The foreign media, on the other hand, treated volunteers as a ‘front’ for the Chinese government. According to Bladen (2010), Chinese media tended to glorify the parties, while foreign media focused on their shortcomings.
The media is a very influential force, especially in gauging the success of managing an event like the Olympics. In some cases, media outlets can distort the outcomes of an event. Such distortions can occur in situations where there are conflicting representations, like in the Olympics Games. Bladen (2010) feels that the reporting of volunteering in sporting events lacks sufficient research. The media pays more attention on the individuals engaged in the sports and the actual games, ignoring the parties that provide their services for free.
In future, the media can be harnessed to manage mega-events, such as the Olympics. The success can be achieved by acknowledging the individuals behind the preparation and execution of such activities. Beijing Olympics Games would have been depicted as a success if the conflicting representation of the volunteers did not give rise to extraneous issues, such as politics.
Bladen (2010) addresses the problem of differing representation of volunteers in the games by analysing the major issues revolving around their roles. The motives behind the activities of these individuals are established by focusing on their duties and how they are treated by the media.
The misrepresentation of volunteers in the Olympics Games had negative impacts on Chinese legacy. The misinformation raised questions about China’s sincerity and competencies in managing such events. The Chinese were depicted by the media as friendly and accommodating hosts. However, their government was regarded as ‘Big, Bad China’ (Bladen 2010). The biased reporting in the media cannot be ignored. Such skewed representation extends to the treatment of volunteers by local and international news agencies.
As an events manager, the author of this paper feels that the media plays a significant role in the success of events. In addition, the invaluable contribution of volunteers cannot be ignored, irrespective of their skills. However, the coverage of events by the media should be independent from popular themes and attitudes surrounding the culture or politics of the people.
The Conceptualisation and Measurement of the Legacy of Mega Sporting Events (Holger Preuss)
The legacy of any event significantly influences the management of similar occasions in the future. In their article, Preuss (2007) reviews the nature of the legacies left behind by large scale sporting affairs. The impact of such events is the major theme in this article.
Definition of the term legacy, especially in relation to events, is not clear cut. As a result of this, the International Olympic Committee has made efforts to clarify sporting activities and their impacts. The value derived by communities or sports organisations from games, as well as the value of the sporting facilities, constitutes the legacy of sports events.
According to Preuss (2007), the effects of any sports undertaking on the community and on other stakeholders can either be positive or negative. They can also be planned or unplanned. The impacts of the event on sporting structures may persist for a long time.
As an events manager, it is important to note that the intended and unintended legacies of a mega sporting undertaking determine the management of the entire undertaking. In addition, the benefits that members of the community derive from the occasion determine its success or failure.
Considering the massive investments made in large scale sporting events, the manager should take the lasting legacy very seriously. The impacts are part of the occasion’s return on investment.
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Gauging the lasting impression of sports is very important in the management of these undertakings in the future. For instance, the manager should determine the extent to which the event benefits members of the society. To this end, those undertakings that have positive impacts on the community should be prioritised.
There are several methods used in measuring the legacy of large scale sporting affairs. They include the benchmark, the top-down, and the bottom-up approaches (Preuss 2007). As an event manager, the author of this paper agrees with Preuss that the bottom-up approach is more comprehensive, effective, and adequate compared to the rest.
It is important to determine the structural changes brought about by ‘super-events’ (Preuss 2007). In addition, the manager should gauge the emotional impacts of the occasions, as well as their impacts on the image of the country. For instance, the enhancement of the country’s image as a result of hosting the Olympics is a major aspect of the event’s legacy.
In the opinion of this author, the future of such large scale sporting organisations as the FIFA World Cup depends on their legacies in relation to the hosting nation. With regards to the current global economic turmoil, countries are taking the issue of the impacts of events very seriously. As a manager, this author will strive to enhance the effects of large occasions using the pre-event, event, and post-event legacy framework.
Hosting Business Meetings and Special Events in Virtual Worlds: A Fad or the Future? (David M. Pearlman & Nicholas A. Gates)
The contemporary world is characterised by significant developments in relation to information and technology. Today, technology is emerging as an essential aspect of almost all human undertakings. Events management is one of the areas in the modern world where technology is utilised. The application of technology in managing events is the major theme in this article.
Pearlman and Gates (2010) carried out a study to determine virtual reality and its significance to contemporary organisations. The two sought to examine the adoption of this technology in businesses, special parties, and meetings. The viability of virtual reality applications in today’s business world was also analysed.
According to Pearlman and Gates (2010), the term ‘virtual reality’ is used in reference to computer-simulated environments. The technology is used to ‘imaginarily’ replicate the real world. A number of computer applications are used to generate 3D visual environments that constitute the virtual world.
Most professionals lack information on virtual reality applications. However, in spite of these inadequacies, the use of this technology in the business world is on the rise. Some of the applications available in the market include WebEx, 3D SL, and ON24 (Pearlman & Gates 2010).
The most significant contribution of virtual reality to the profession is the development of virtual events. They are gaining popularity because of several factors. Users are becoming used to online platforms. Maturation of virtual technologies and the availability of high bandwidth are some of the other factors enhancing virtual events.
Holding virtual conferences and such other undertakings reduces operational costs in the organisation. Such reduced expenditures have increased the popularity of these kinds of meetings and conferences.
In spite of the economic benefits associated with this technology, Pearlman and Gates (2010) note that some organisations are reluctant to adopt virtual reality. The study illustrates uncertainties about the future of this technology as one of the reasons behind the reluctance.
However, considering the advantages associated with virtual events, these doubts are unjustified. Reports of similar undertakings hosted virtually by such organisations as IBM and American Cancer Society highlight the reliability and usefulness of these applications (Pearlman & Gates 2010).
Global pandemics, such as Influenza, and an increase in travel costs, have led to reduced physical participation in conventions and such other business gatherings. Virtual events have little or no carbon footprint. Such an attribute is important in the contemporary world where people are concerned with global warming.
It is important to note that holding large scale events on the virtual platform is a difficult undertaking. In spite of these difficulties, it appears that the growth of these undertakings will increase in the future. Furthermore, simulating mega-events enhances the success of actual ground occasions.
The Effects of Facebook Users’ Arousal and Valence on Intention to go to the Festival: Applying an Extension of the Technology Acceptance Model (Woojin Lee, Lina Xiong, and Clark Hu)
The influence of social media platforms on marketing is a force to reckon with in events management. Large groups of people and corporations come together on social media sites. The link between Facebook as a social medium and management of activities is the main theme in the report cited above.
Lee, Xiong, and Hu (2012) acknowledge the influence of social media on events marketing in the contemporary world. The sites make it possible to communicate directly with potential event attendees or the target audience. In addition, the gathering of first hand reactions and suggestions regarding events is made easy.
Lee et al. (2012) sought to determine whether Facebook users actually respond to events communicated through the social media site or not. Lee et al. (2012) used the technology acceptance model (TAM) to assess how arousal and valence influenced the response of Facebook users in relation to events marketed via the site. The theory of reasoned action (TRA) forms the basis of TAM. It explains the construction of behaviours by individuals (Lee et al. 2012).
According to Lee et al. (2012), individuals’ reaction to technology is informed by its perceived ease of use and applicability. Using TAM, Lee et al. determined that emotions are a major factor as far as responding to a Facebook marketing event is concerned.
The importance of Facebook as a marketing tool is undeniable. For instance, every month, approximately 3.5 million events are advertised on the site (Lee et al. 2012). The sheer volume of users makes the site a prime tool for managers keen on wooing attendees, especially in relation to mega-events.
However, ensuring that the users respond to the advertisements is a different matter altogether. Lee et al. (2012) found that users who experience high levels of arousal and valence from the advertisement are more likely to access Facebook pages than their counterparts. Such users are also more likely to respond to the events marketed there compared to other individuals.
Technology advancements give rise to new marketing options. Organisers adopt the most effective of these alternatives. Understanding the factors influencing these options will ultimately determine the success of marketing.
Social media marketing is important in reaching out to those users that are technologically savvy. Facebook is one of the most popular platforms used in relation to this form of marketing. To determine the future responsiveness of these users, managers should focus on the perceived value of this social site. The event page should be easy to navigate. Updating the content on such pages will also enhance the success of future events.
The Development of Competitive Advantage through Sustainable Event Management (Stephen Henderson)
The article by Henderson (2011) revolves around the theme of sustainable event management. Henderson (2011) emphasises the need for organisations and event organisers to meet their projected desires.
The managers can achieve this through sustainable application of both human and physical resources. Sustainability implies a form of development that meets the present human needs. The development also makes some compromises to help future generations meet their own needs.
The definition of sustainable events encompasses several issues. In a broad sense, the definition brings together both the process and the outcome or product of the event. The two aspects imply undertakings organised to meet sustainable standards to enhance the benefits accrued to the audience (Henderson 2011). To this end, a sustainable event should be beneficial to the people and the planet as a whole. In addition, it should meet the interests of the investors.
Public and private sector occasions differ in relation to sustainable management. The former are more concerned with the public welfare. Organisers of such undertakings strive to help the people and to safeguard the environment. On the other hand, management of private sector events mainly focuses on profit generation at the expense of the people and the planet (Henderson 2011).
Sustainable coordination of activities may be compromised when competitive advantage is sought. However, cost leadership and focus and differentiation strategies can be used to enhance sustainability without negatively affecting the profitability aspect of these investments. Differentiation and focus approach is people oriented.
The event organiser focuses on the delivery of unique utility to the audience. Both approaches enhance profits since the consumers are drawn to the event by the qualities they desire. As such, they are likely to contribute generously to support the process.
Conflicts are likely to occur between sustainable management and cost leadership, especially with regards to the creation of competitive advantage. It is noted that most of the strategies used in lowering costs disregard the sustainability aspect of the event.
For instance, generation of green energy to support the activities associated with Olympics may be costly compared to the use of fossil energy. Such an event addresses the issue of sustainability, but negatively impacts on profitability.
To realise sustainability, future event organisers should try to combine the various competitive elements of management. An event geared towards differentiation and focus is more likely to achieve the sustainability target. The same is not guaranteed when a competitiveness strategy is adopted.
Sustainability is an important element in contemporary business management. Managers should realise the importance of upholding sustainability in their undertakings. Sustainability-oriented societies will most likely respond to sustainable events, irrespective of the price they are required to pay to enjoy such undertakings.
Relationship Marketing of Services: Growing Interest, Emerging Perspectives (Berry 1995)
Berry (1995) addresses the theme of relationship marketing of services in the context of events management. The author views the concept as a collection of activities involved in the attraction, maintenance, and enhancement of client relationships. It is noted that most mega-events are products of multiple services organisations. As such, the importance of relationship marketing in this field is irrefutable.
The analysis of Contact Theatre relationships and marketing of services by Berry (1995) brings to light some essential aspects of relationship marketing. The interaction between the theatre and the various stakeholders reveals the framework adopted by this organisation in promoting its services.
Berry (1995) regards the nature of interactions as a vital element in the success of the theatre. The success is especially determined by the response to the conventions and other gatherings held.
Contact Theatre nurtures relationships with various individuals involved in the running of the business. They include, among others, teachers and youthful workers. The interactions with local, national, and international arts organisations highlight this connection. The link between arts directors and members of staff, for example, indicates internal relationships.
According to Berry (1995), marketing differs depending on the nature of relationships exhibited in an organisation. The differences are inevitable since the roles of the individuals or groups in the interaction also differ. For instance, the marketing of internal engagements should focus on attracting and developing qualified employees (Berry 1995).
Internal employees and the audience are the most important stakeholders with regards to the activities carried out at Contact Theatre. As such, internal marketing is essential since the services produced involve performance. To this end, the employees are the performers (Berry 1995).
Collaboration with the audience is the only means through which the theatre can achieve its objectives. The success of Contact Theatre is measured using the status of the relationships it has with stakeholders and the response of the audience. The more people respond to artistic events, the more the success of the managers.
Contact Theatre is a non-profit organisation. In the opinion of this author, management in this entity differs significantly with the coordination of activities in private commercial organisations. The objectives of the latter involve the establishment of relationships geared towards the generation of revenue. On the contrary, Contact Theatre focuses on sustainable relationships with the society and other stakeholders.
The internal and external stakeholders regard their relationship with Contact Theatre positively. The former regard this engagement as an open undertaking, leading to high levels of satisfaction and mutual interest. The external stakeholders view their interaction with the theatre as representative of all groups.
Berry, L 1995, ‘Relationship marketing of services: growing interest, emerging perspectives’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 23. no. 4, pp. 243-245.
Bladen, C 2010, ‘Media representation of volunteers at the Beijing Olympic Games’, Sport in Society, vol. 13. no. 5, pp. 728-796.
Henderson, S 2011, ‘The development of competitive advantage through sustainable event management’, Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, vol. 3. no. 3, pp. 245-257.
Lee, W, Xiong, L & Hu, C 2012, ‘The effect of Facebook users’ arousal and valence on intention to go to the festival: applying an extension of the technology acceptance model’, International Journal of Hospitality Management, vol. 31. no. 1, pp. 819-827.
Pearlman, D & Gates, N 2010, ‘Hosting business meetings and special events in virtual worlds: a fad or the future?’, Journal of Convention & Event Tourism, vol. 11. no. 1, pp. 247-265.
Preuss, H 2007, ‘The conceptualisation and measurement of mega sport event legacies’, Journal of Sport & Tourism, vol. 12. nos. 3-4, pp. 207-227.