Event Theming: A Luxury or a Trend?
(2014) Event Theming: A Luxury or a Trend?, no. 66.
Abstract The aim of this research is to find out if event theming is a luxury or a trend within the events industry through conducting semi-structured interviews with events industry experts to reach a conclusion to the research problem. Semi-structured interviews were chosen as the optimal process, as it allows the researcher to understand how people interpret their experiences and what meaning they attribute to these experiences (Merriam 2009). Event theming is a relatively broad area within the events industry which is not new, but certainly lacking in academic research and literature. Literature and theories from a wider subject area with associations to theming have been studied and analysed to form a thorough foundation in order for the researcher and reader to gain an understanding of the topic area to be researched. These theories and concepts with their respective theorists include: The Experience Economy (Pine and Gilmore 1999), The Society of the Spectacle (Debord 1994), Consumerism (Sterns 1997), and Disneyization (Bryman 2004), to name a few. Berridge (2007, 2010 and 2012) and Getz (2007 and 2012) were heavily utilised in establishing a theoretical framework due to their wealth of work carried out on event management and event design. The respondents provided a vast amount of data which was coded and analysed to ensure the most relevant information was used when forming a discussion and conclusion. The researcher found that many factors have an important role and influence over theming and a client's prospect of holding a themed event. The main influential factor which became apparent was a client's budget; the majority of the respondents formed the opinion that to do a theme well, it would cost the client more. This generally would be in terms of flowers, props, lighting, and/or food. According to the respondents, a themed event is typically more memorable for guests, which enhances Pine and Gilmore's (1999) theory of the experience economy that theming enhances an experience. The researcher, on analysing the data, found it could be concluded by the respondents that theming is neither a trend nor an emerging trend within the events industry. Although budget is a main influencer, the clientele who hold themed events varies considerably, implying themed events are not held mostly or solely by the more affluent classes. While it might be the case that theming is not a trend, it is an aspect of the events industry which all respondents believe has always been prevalent and always will be, albeit to different degrees depending on the economic climate and the type of client.