Social media…is it critical toward sustaining event businesses in 2013 and beyond?

Nikki McQuillan, Laura McKeown

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Economists claim that the current economic malaise comes as a direct result of the volatility in today’s global economy and the increasing on set of nationwide austerity measures (EIBTM 2012). Despite this, Davidson (2012) argues that the global events sector can still look forward to another period of moderate expansion in meetings, events and business travel volume and spending in 2013. Technology has evolved rapidly in a manner that supplies event businesses, venues and planners with novel resolutions to facilitate them need to work more efficiently at all stages in the planning lifecycle (Davidson 2011). With the significant rise of social media event attendees have engaged willingly in these platforms. Furthermore, the growing trend of social media has compelled event planners to re-think how to organise and market events effectively and consider how social media should be integrated into an event strategy. Shang et al (2011) highlighted that businesses need to have a good understanding of the information shared on social media and how to manage it for the business to remain competitive and sustainable. However, information on the implementation of social media within event businesses is in limited supply in academic literature. Therefore the purpose of this paper is to provide essential knowledge to current and potential events businesses in order to gain competitive advantage and sustain a successful events business model. It will review event marketing literature, explore the features of contemporary event marketing with a primary focus on social media and Web 2.0 technologies and evaluate their role within an integrated marketing strategy toward securing a sustainable business model for events companies. The research was qualitative in nature, with the main data collection methods being in-depth interviews and focus groups. Focus groups enabled the researcher to observe and comprehend the context within which decisions and action occur mirroring the activities of social media where decisions and actions are taken after posts or comments have been made. Findings suggest that event planners are using social media at all stages of the event planning process: for promotion, awareness, engagement and feedback. It was evident that it is still a new tool within the industry and that many event planners have not fully embraced all of its features. However, interaction and engagement with event attendees is a particular element of social media that event planners are embracing to gain the trust of their consumers and secure audiences strategically. Bolan et. al (2012) emphasised that events revolve around communication and interaction and that social media is an essential element of successful event business models. The research also highlighted that social media enabled planners to promote and market events to thousands of people in seconds before, during and after the event and also more interestingly to non- attendees. The research recommends that event businesses embrace new technologies such as social media, become fully literate in their features and engage with event attendees at all stages of the event planning process toward securing a sustainable events business model for 2013 and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherCouncil for Hospitality Management Education
Number of pages0
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 17 May 2013
EventCouncil for Hospitality Management Educators - Queen Margret University Edinburgh
Duration: 17 May 2013 → …


ConferenceCouncil for Hospitality Management Educators
Period17/05/13 → …

Bibliographical note

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  • Social Media
  • Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Sustainable event businesses.


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