Visitor composition and event-related spending

Marijke Taks, B. Christine Green, Laurence Chalip, Stefan Kesenne, Scott Martyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the spending patterns of non-local participants and spectators at a medium-sized international sport event, to segment their spending patterns and consider implications for the quality of each segment's event experience. Design/methodology/approach: Spending in nine sectors of the economy is measured via self-report, and respondents are segmented into five groups: spectators, athletes, coaches, officials, and other participants (e.g. media, medical staff). The daily and aggregate spend for each segment in each economic sector is calculated and compared. Regression analysis tests differences among segments for each economic sector. Findings: Participants account for 39 per cent of aggregate spend; coaches are the biggest spenders; athletes spend relatively little. The segments spend differently on hospitality, private transportation, grocery, and retail, with spectators spending significantly more than the participant groups on hospitality and private transportation, and significantly less on groceries and merchandise. Spending in sectors normally associated with celebration and festivity accounts for only 8 per cent of total spend. Research limitations/implications: Findings are derived from a single event, but are consistent with other work, suggesting that inadequate attention is given to opportunities for festive celebration, especially among athletes. Practical implications: Coaches are a particularly useful target market for retailers, whereas hoteliers and service stations should target their marketing at spectators. Event organizers should do more to build festivals. Originality/value: This paper identifies the ways that different segments organize their spending at an event, and demonstrates that greater attention to festivals could enhance a sport event's overall impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-147
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Economic impact
  • Economic sectors
  • Event segmentation
  • Festivals
  • Hospitality
  • Leisure activities
  • Sporting events
  • Visitor spending

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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