The purpose of this research is to study the impact of the Spoleto, USA festival on the Charleston, SC hotel industry. Anecdotal evidence indicates that, while the highly successful event has benefited the community as a whole, hotels have not shared in the good fortune festival organizers and university‐sponsored economic studies indicate should have accrued.
Secondary data, obtained from Smith Travel Research, spanning four festival periods (2000‐2003), have been analyzed, comparing festival‐period hotel occupancy rates and average daily rates (ADRs) with non‐festival periods.
Neither Spoleto‐period hotel occupancy nor ADR were enhanced by the festival. Analysis indicated that local hotels are not receiving the expected festival‐driven benefits. The numbers indicate that Spoleto has caused more potential visitors to avoid the city than it has attracted.
On a micro‐level, Charleston hotel and tourism officials learn about a festival's impact on their city. On a macro‐level, other cities and festival organizers may be encouraged to review their events to determine whether they are contributing to their local economy as expected. There is no suggestion that what has occurred in Charleston would necessarily occur elsewhere.
The paper is quite practical and should be of significant value to industry and governmental officials. The most significant contribution is making the stakeholders aware of an issue of importance that is easily overlooked.
This research offers a fresh look at an issue not previously specifically addressed. While a healthy body of research speaks to the positive benefits of festivals and special events, looking at the potential shortfalls from the hotel's perspective makes this paper of significant value.
Litvin, S. and Fetter, E. (2006), "Can a festival be too successful?A review of Spoleto, USA", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 41-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/09596110610641966Download as .RIS
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