Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
Due to confirming characteristics, events can be considered to be specification of projects. Large events are particularly described by their complexity and the many stakeholders involved. Because of these characteristics, the achievement as well as the evaluation of project success are extremely difficult. This is aggravated by the diverse perspectives on success by the many different stakeholders involved. A key stakeholders in large events are destination management/ marketing organization (DMO) of the host community. Rationale is the tremendous impact events have on the destination. Particularly, the enhanced tourism development, the increase of tourist arrivals as well as the improvement of the destination’s image and brand awareness can be highlighted. By marketing a destination to potential tourists, establishing a destination’s image and managing an increasing international attention, DMOs play a primary role in handling these major impacts. Nevertheless, managing the major impacts as well as leveraging them into sustainable benefits for the host destination is extremely difficult. Like any other stakeholder, DMOs have certain expectations for large evens and may determine success based on whether these expectations were met. Identifying certain success criteria allows the stakeholders involved to evaluate whether a project was successful and whether it met ones expectations.
This thesis shall increase the understanding on the evaluation of project success from the DMOs’ perspective as a key stakeholder in large events. In order to identify the role of DMOs in large event as well as their perception of project success and the success criteria used for evaluation, eight semi-structured interviews were conducted. By doing so, managers of particular DMOs were interviewed, while each DMO represents another large event.
It was found that DMOs of a host destination are usually neither involved in the organization of large events nor in managerial tasks. In fact, the large event is used for marketing purposes and is further included in marketing activities to promote a destination to the specified target markets. In order to draw the potential benefits from a large event, it needs to be implemented in a DMOs long-term strategy. At the same time, cooperation between a DMO and a large event is crucial. This underlines the important role DMOs have in large events. DMOs perceive large events as successful if the related marketing activities fulfill the previous set expectations for amount and content of media coverage. In addition, success is perceived by the DMOs if a sustainable destination development can be recognized. Within the distinct task areas of a DMO, different perspectives on success become apparent. Multiple different success criteria used by the DMO to evaluate success are identified, which can be allocated to three different success concepts. First, event success is marked by the impact on the tourist and impact on the DMO. Moreover, destination success can be recognized, while organizational success is specified by preparing for the future and for future large events. In addition, the success concepts can be allocated to medium- and long-term dimensions. It becomes apparent that a short-term dimension and a success concept related to project management success can be neglected, as DMOs are less involved in project management tasks related to the event. From the empirical material collected and the existing theoretical matters, a framework is developed accordingly.
Project success, success evaluation, success criteria, large events, destination management organization