Goal of research
The research aims to develop a new approach to the management of post-event activity as an instrument of maintaining visitor’s loyalty.
applied methods, empirical base of research
The methodology of the research combines a series of stages to conduct an extensive analysis of the topic. The concept of the ‘event – post-event - loyalty’ is at the heart of the current study.
The first stage of the study included evaluation of the digital activity of the Museum Night visitors in the Vkontakte social network and digital footprints of the event. The objectives of this research part were to determine specific traits of transformation in the event image on social media in 2008-2019. The empirical base of the study was gathered with open API methods and numbered 38 399 posts containing hashtag #museumnight posted on the Vkontakte social network. Estimates of webmetrical indicators of users’ activity were studied with the Pearson correlation coefficient. To evaluate the effect of the event, a comparison study of growing subscription in the official groups of the culturally significant objects was conducted using the T-test. The sample included 100 groups. The information fields surrounding the event for the past three years were compared using semantic analysis. This research employed logarithmic likelihood function (G-tests) and odds ratio for words in the studied corpora. Together the results provide important insights into the understanding of the transformation of online communication between visitors and culturally significant objects. Additionally, results show increasing saturation of the information field with content.
The second stage of the research suggests evaluation of the present state of a post-event activity. Museum Night 2019 was used as a case. A list of post-event activities that involve objects – participants of the 2019 event was compiled. The post-event identification of activities was based on a developed system of criteria which demonstrates the post-event activity of the culturally significant objects. Special attention was given to specific traits of their organizational structures and design of the activities held during and after the event. The sample includes 28 culturally significant objects and 36 events. Taken together, results suggest that there are insufficient popularization and limited development of post-event activity in general. The most noteworthy traits of the present state of developing post-event activity include, firstly, the most interested participants in post-event activity are museum organizations, secondly, culturally significant objects tend to retain the format of events already tested in the Museum Night.
The third stage of the study evaluates the effectiveness of the Museum Night 2019 post-event activities. The method of in-depth interviews was used for data gathering and involved interviews with directors, managers, or participating organization responsible for the Museum Night 2019. The sample included 19 representatives from cultural institutions of Saint Petersburg. The results of this research support the idea that post-event effects of the Museum Night include non-material benefits from the event as well as holding extra post-event activities in regular opening hours of museums. The first groups of effects are more effective for participants and are formed during the planning and holding the event. The second group of effects is a new and less effective form of interacting with the target audience and the promotion of an organization.
The fourth stage of the research included phone in-depth interviews with visitors of the Museum Night 2018. This research part seeks to address the question of the most attractive design aspects of the activities conducted by cultural institutions during the event and the locales most appealing to the last year’s visitors. The in-depth interview sample included 35 interviewees. The following conclusions can be drawn from the present study: the most significant factors contributing to loyalty included the scope of the spaces, emotions, audience, commercialization of creative spaces, infrastructure, and inner organization of spaces.
The fifth stage of the research was focused on discovering specific traits of developing loyalty among various groups of participants. Face-to-face interviews with visitors of the Museum Night 2019 (with 5 people at a time) was the chosen method of gathering empirical data. The interview sample includes 466 respondents. The methodological approach taken in this study is regression analysis. The analysis indicated four models demonstrating the influence levels of the detected factors on visitors’ loyalty. As a result of compiling the conditional inference tree, the appeal of a place was named the most significant variable in strengthening loyalty to a certain locale.
The sixth stage of the research implied evaluation interest levels of visitors – participants of the Museum Night 2019 in visiting members of post-event activities. Data were gathered from The online poll was the method of data gathering. The poll sample included 44 participants. The results showed a high level of interest in post-event activities among visitors and low level of actual attendance of post-event activities at the same time.
Results of research
For the first time, the concept of loyalty was developed and justified with regard to culture institutions, which is characterized by a number of features towards the concept of consumer loyalty that is traditionally applied in the commercial sector. The developed concept is based on the «emotional anchor» model, which involves networks establishment between visiting of cultural institutions and the experience gained by him. It was determined that in the theory of the «funnel» of loyalty, the task of positive experience developing, as a prerequisite for loyalty, lies in the area of responsibility of cultural institutions.
Therefore, this study makes a major contribution to research cultural events and post events activities. The research project provided an important opportunity to advance the understanding of success of the events. Moreover, the research established an approach to evaluation of the visitors’ loyalty level (to the event and hosting cultural organizations). The level of visitors’ loyalty was evaluated based on the attendance of post-event activities as well as on the analysis of reviews and recommendations posted on social networks, social groups, on web-pages of the events and cultural organizations.
A classification of the mega-events participants on the example of the Museum Night was developed. It was based on cultural, spatial, managerial factors.
The present study makes several noteworthy contributions by developing recommendations for organizers of the Museum Night and other cultural institutions. Since the Museum Night is the largest cultural event, improving the organization of post-event activity can bring significant social and economic benefits. These benefits include attracting the new categories of visitors, incorporating new innovative formats of operation, strengthening of corporate culture, more effective funding spending.
This research has several practical applications. Based on the conducted researches the authors developed a series of recommendations aimed to attract visitors to Museum Night and various post-event activities. The entire system of recommendation was developed for two groups of stakeholders: organizing committee and museums.
Recommendations for the museums referred to self-promoting of post-event activities; systematic development of volunteers community (volunteers should be involved in main event and in post-event activities as well); holding fundraising campaigns to attract sponsors and partners to post-event activities; development of flexible price policies; interaction with visitors of the event in social groups to create a loyal ‘core’; distributing positive information about the event or of an hosting organization.
The significance of large mega-events was substantiated on the example of the Museum Night for the metropolis cultural life, which is expressed in:
the model creation and implementation intra- and inter-industry cooperation of cultural institutions;
the promotion of events as innovative impulses of participants’ attendances of cultural institutions, which events were organized by;
the attraction of the various groups of people to participate in cultural events who are not regular visitors of cultural institutions and participants of events that held in them.
The concept of the post-event activity of cultural institutions was developed. It became as an integral part of the event management theory. It allows to improve the positive effects of the "Museum Night" campaign, to develop loyalty to cultural institutions and events that they hold on the part of various groups of visitors, to diverse and modify of web marketing forms of cultural institutions. Events holding has become an increasingly important area of cultural institutions activities. More than 350 various festivals take place in Saint Petersburg annually. In this regards, the management of post-event activity has become an increasingly important area of cultural organization management.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results
The research project was conducted in collaboration with the organizing committee of the Museum Night and, with experts being the directors of museums and other cultural institutions.
The main instruments recommended for the organizing committee are related to better inform visitors of scheduled post-event activities; of prices on post-event activities; more active cooperation with local district administrations interested in post-event activities. Another recommendation for the organizing committee was the improvement of software for ticketing. This software provides visitors with the opportunity to obtain a single ticket for additional services including post-event activities using a bar-code or QR-code.
The developed recommendations have been brought to the attention of the Saint Petersburg Committee for Culture, the organizing committee of the Museum Night, and directors of museums.