IntroductionThis report follows Saunders, Lewis and Thornhills research onion of the 3 philosophical paradigms. Within the report, the methodology will be discussed in relation to the topic and a pilot study will be carried out to support the research. Rob Davidson and Tony Rogers model will be tested to ensure accuracy and conclude whether the results are still viable. The model includes all the selection factors for corporate venues in a ranked order. Literature reviewConferences and conventions form part of the business events sector and is also known by the acronym MICE: Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (Mair, 2014). The meetings industry was 2.2 billion pounds in 1998 (Weber, 2000). However, based on new research, the industry is a value of £30 billion in the UK (Tanner, 2014).
The economic increase in the industry has also stimulated an increase of venues held. Van de Vagen and White (2010) states that the terms ‘venue’ and ‘site’ can be used interchangeably. Venue typically refers to buildings whereas site is more commonly used when referring to outdoor areas. Site is also a term used more generally for a list of locations that could potentially be adopted for venues.A decade ago, most conferences and conventions were held in hotels or conference centres and the use of other types of venue was quite rare (Chetywnd, in Harris and Sainsburys, 2009).
In 1990 there was highly accelerated growth in the MICE industry (Rompf, Breither and Servet, 2008). Roger (2013) states, the conference industry is a dynamic, young industry which is maturing and growing at a rapid rate. In addition, conferences and conventions are one of the fastest growing areas of the events industry (Mair, 2014). Rogers and Davidson (2016) explain, conferences can currently be held in a variety of different venues, furthermore, the dramatic rise in the variety of unusual, unique or non-traditional venues is also discussed. This has an impact on venue selection as event planners are not limited to destinations with purpose built venues. Rompf, Breither and Severt (2008) explain corporate event organisations produce a myriad of events for different purposes and therefore the selection process can differentiate depending on the type of corporate event. This suggests there are many variables of the selection process; there are specific planning implications when choosing an unusual venue in preference to a standard venue (Van der Vagen and White, 2010).
Prior to this, there has been much research resulting in many different models regarding venue and site selection for events. Crouch and Ritchie has documented all the research of site selection for events up until 1996 (Appendix 2). However, since this, there has been new research from Tony Rogers and Rob Davison on key influencing factors of venue and destination selection for corporate events (Appendix 3). Crouch and Ritchie’s research was before the dramatic change in the industry and therefore some aspects could have changed due to trends within the industry and external factors. The aspects identified within the newer model complements the older models, adding new variables to the research criteria. 2.
1. Conceptual FrameworkThe dramatic increase in corporate event venues over the past decade could suggest the selection factors could alter in the order of importance within Tony Rogers’ and Rob Davison’s Model. Tony Rogers and Rob Davidson give the most up to date, reliable research. As the site selection factors from Crouch and Ritchie do not provide ranked components to compare. As well as all the aspects being very detailed, including their separate aspects within each category.As research from 2005 states, the length of corporate events becoming shorter in duration, with fewer delegates (Weber and Ladkin, 2005). However recent research suggests in 2008 the highest number of face to face conference meetings (UCAMS, 2017).
Eventbrite 285 is the average size of a conference (2016). Also Davidson states, the group size will increase in most world regions in 2017 (Incentive Travel and Corporate Meetings, 2016). Crouch and Liouver (2004b) state that globalisation has transformed internationally the scope of many events and smaller cities and towns have recognised the growth in the industry and begun to successfully compete within this. In addition, due to the number of terror attacks during 2017 in the two largest cities in the UK, London and Manchester.Another trend within the industry suggests that the quality of the service will be more important than the price they pay, customer satisfaction and quality can be more important than financial results (PricewaterhouseCoopers cited in Uysal and Williams, 2003).
Sorin (2003) states event companies that see customer satisfaction as an investment, rather than a cost, understand the customer’s needs. Customer satisfaction is one of the most critical issues concerning businesses (Grigoroudis and Siskos, 2010). Therefore, there might be an increase in the importance of this component within the model. There are other various trends that could influence the model including BREXIT and the relationships with other countries. Weber and Ladkin (2005) state relationship marketing is concerned with building long-term relations with businesses, a range of tactics can be used to ensure repeat business in the wider business environment is beginning to filter through to the conference sector.Tony Rogers and Rob Davidson give the most up to date, reliable research.
As the site selection factors from Crouch and Ritchie do not provide ranked components to compare. As well as all the aspects being very detailed, including their separate aspects within each category.The research suggests that some of the factors such as quality of service, location, experience with previous venue and capacity of conference facilities will increase in importance with the trends.
Aims and ObjectivesThe main aim of the research is to explore the key influencing factors of corporate events in the UK, and the trends in the MICE industry.Objectives:Test an existing model key factors of corporate event section factors to ensure that they are valid.To measure the current ranking of the model to see if the trends within the industry have had an effect.Methodology Brunt, Horner and Semley state there are many different approaches to research and each approach is selected by the researcher’s intention and perspective on collecting the data (2017). Veal explains the philosophies approaches refer to paradigms in the social sciences which are the ways of looking at the research (2011). A paradigm is a researchers basic set of beliefs that define their view (Goodson and Phillimore, 2004). The philosophical paradigms this research uses are found in figure one.
Saunders research onion consists of the paradigms, positivism, interpretivism and pragmatism, the ones used in this report (Appendix 1). Philosophical Paradigm This research will focus on the philosophical paradigm positivism. Positivism is a philosophical stance of the natural science and involves working with an observable social reality to produce generalisations (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2016). The research will use generalisation, to gather a broader response with more figures to compare. A hypothesis was created from the literature as this is a measurable and predictable approach (Brunt, Horner and Semley, 2017).
Therefore, as the research focuses on the importance of the variables, this can be measured and compared to the existing model and the changes in the industry creates a prediction. As Blaikie (2000) states positivism is to signal a broad interest in developing cause and effect generalisations often on the basis of testing a statistical correlation. The alternative to positivism is interpretivism. Hammersley (2012) states, interpretivism rejects central beliefs of positivism. Interpretivism, as Creswell describes as a reality that needs to be brought to the surface (2009). It is constructed by social actors and people’s feelings of reality (Brunt, Horner and Semley, 2017). Brunt, Horner and Semley also say that measures of reality are observable and therefore no predictions can be made because there is no exploration (2017).
Blaikie adds it is the study of social phenomena which requires understanding of the social world that people have constructed. Another perspective. Willis and Jost (2007) states interpretivism rejects the positivist idea that the same method can be used to study human behaviour. The final philosophical paradigm pragmatism. Kelemen and Rumans (2008) asserts that the concepts are only relevant where they support an action. Saunders Lewis and Thornhill (2016) explain how reality matters as practical effects of ideas, knowledge are valued for enabling actions to be carried out.OntologyOntology refers to the nature of the reality assumed by the researcher (Veal, 2011). Brunt, Horner and Semlet (2017) also states it is the term used to describe the position as the researcher.
As this research is from a positivist view from the aims, the research will be realistic, as opposed to relativism (Brunt, Horner and Semley, 2017). Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2016) describes that ontology refers to the assumption about the nature of the reality, although this may seem abstract and far from the intention of the research. An interpretivism view of ontology, is the research is not privileged. This emphasis is placed on varying views and realities as perceived by the people being studied (Veal, 2011). Frössler (2008) states the intention of interpretivism is therefore to measure the enactment of realities by human agents though their participation in social processes and to show how social constituted though those very realities. This process is not to analysis their opinions and their social reality, but to test the model. The other paradigm is pragmatism, their view is how reality is and assumes that aspects of both positivism and interpretivism can uncover valuable information.
However, pragmatism recognises that there are many various ways of interpreting the world and undertaking the research, and there is no single view that can give overall picture of the world (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2016).Epistemology Hammond and Wellington explain epistemology is closely entwined with ontology. Burrell and Morgan, (1979) it assumes about the knowledge, what constitutes acceptable, valid and legitimate knowledge and how this is communicated to others. However, Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2016) states whereas ontology may initially seem rather abstract, the relevance of epistemology is more obvious. Veal (2011) states positivism adopts an objective impartial view point. Sprague (2005) describes positivism as assuming the truth comes from eliminating the role of subjective judgement and interpretations, as the participants would not be requested to give their opinions and reasoning for the selection criteria, this makes the research objective. Brunt, Horner and Semley, (2017) state as a positivist, meaning the view is of the social world in fact and remains impartial regarding that the knowledge is generated. For interpretivism, predictions and hypotheses are not possible as there is an unknown exploration, therefore believe that reality is subjective and knowledge about this reality should be created (Brunt, Horner and Semley, 2017).
Veal also agrees as it should be more subjective and engage with subjects of study (2011). Hammersley (2012) states, interpreters cannot understand why people do what they do, or how institutions operate in characteristic ways without considering how people interpret and make sense of their work. Within pragmatism, it reconciles both objective and subjective, facts and values and different conceptualised experiences (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2016).ApproachesWithin Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2016) research onion there are two different approaches, deductive and inductive. A positivism approach focuses on a deduction. Collins (2010) states a deductive approach means the use of a theory to develop a proposition and then design a research framework to test that proposition. Damon and Holloway (2011) add it starts with a general theory or hypothesis, which they can test through searching for empirical evidence that either confirms it or falsifies it. Atkinson (2011) states quantitative methodology is based on the interconnections between deduction theory testing, belief in objectivism and the application of positivist methods.
Within this research, the model of Rob Davison and Tony Rogers will be tested, as new trends suggest there could be a potential to change. The inductive approach is to develop a concept, insights and understanding from patterns in the data (Reneker, 1993). An inductive approach involving observation and in depth interviews to discover the values of the research (Berleur, Hercheui, and Hilty, 2010) whereas a positivist view would not focus of the values, as the value would be a subjective view (Berleur, Hercheui, and Hilty, 2010). Inductive and deductive reasoning were considered to be two completely separate and competing paradigms (McNabb, 2008) as there are many other paradigms, including pragmatism. This paradigm uses both deduction and induction. The research consists of testing information and focuses on observation and new knowledge. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2016) explains if the research does not suggest unambiguous, that there is only one type of method or knowledge which should be adopted, this is the pragmatic view, it is possible to work with different types of knowledge.
TypesThere are two different types of data produced within research, qualitative and quantitative. Positivism uses quantitative data, which researchers often use survey data and statistical analysis to test hypotheses, to measure and predict large-scale pattern and produce generalisable patterns (Hesse-Biber and Leavy, 2007).As the research can be compared, to the previous model the results can be compared and measured. Quantitative methods rely on numeric evidence to test the hypothesis, as this research was able to create a hypothesis, the research is quantitative (Brunt, 1997). Brunt, Horner, and Semley (2017) suggest some limitations for quantitative data such as quantitative data are often impersonal, as the use of generalisation, there is too little known about the individual. Therefore, within the questionnaire there will be research into the individual, some questions will be asked regarding their age, gender and location. McNabb (2008) uses the term qualitative research as a set of non-statistical inquiry techniques and processes used to gather numeric information about social phenomena.
Brennenn (2017) compares that qualitative research does not give easy answers, precise measurements like quantitative research and it can be controversial, and ambiguous and contradict its self. Qualitative research is used to gather information, as opinions including observation, informal and in-depth interviewing (Veal, 2011). Methods The most commonly used method within the industry are online questionnaires (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2016). The use of single data collection technique includes mono methods which will be used for this research.
(Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2007) As the use of generalisation will be used to get a larger response of the data to use. This method of research will not require the use of multiple methods as it only needs to analyse the data from the model. The aims and objectives are to identify and measure the research, which can be completed within one questionnaire. The method of research will be cross-sectional, data collected from respondents making up the sample within a relatively short time frame (Lavrakas, 2008). Within this research there is no qualitative research as the objectives of the research are to test the model. The types of questions used are rating questions, as Tulgan and Coombs (1998) states rating questions gather a nuance and complex data. SampleThe inclusion of the research will be corporate event data base from the Meeting Industry Association (MIA), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Business Visits and Event Partnership (BVEP) and Event Suppliers and Service Association (ESSA). All these are made up event companies with corporate planners.
As a stratified random sample was drawn from 1000 planners and the sample consisted of every third planner within this sample which resulted in a proportionate representation within the sample frame. The exclusion will be everyone else, other event related jobs including event managers and event assistants which will not be included as this might not be part of their role. As well, the sample needs to be experienced within the decision of the selection. EthicsEthical considerations are concerned within the research process, with such matters of plagiarism (Veal, 2011). Saunders identifies the general principles invoked in codes of research ethics. Veal (2011) states permission must be sought from the organisations to conduct the research, therefore a form will be sent to them informing them on all the required information requesting if they would take part in the questionnaire (Appendix 7). This way the conduct will be abided to and if they wish to reject the form. Although, if they accept to take part in the questionnaire, this will be sent to them with the ethics form (Appendix 6).
Pilot StudyThe first copy of the pilot study can be found in Appendix 4 and 5. The questionnaire includes an introductory remark includes written instructions and the purposes of the questionnaire (Veal, 2011). The introductory remark was changed slightly when the pilot was carried out. The resonance did not feel that it provided them with all the information required. Tulgan and Coombs (1998) state the remark is to encourage the respondent, reassure them and enable them to focus on their thoughts. During the questionnaire the layout was considered as once the questionnaire process has begun, it is very difficult to rectify or make changes (Veal, 2017), therefore the pilot test is carried out.
Farrell says piloting a questionnaire helps to improve validity (2011). Thomas, Nelson and Sliverman adds the pilot study determines whether the instructions at the start are valid (2015).Siniscalco and Auriat (2005) state positively worded statements, the scoring categories are from strongly agree 5 to strongly disagree 1 and negative statement are the reverse.
However, this creates a bias. Rubin and Babbie states negative items and terms should be avoided as they might confuse respondents (2010). Therefore, the second pilot study, question 6 the questions were rearranged.
The data gathered will be compared to the existing research using a statistical procedure. The result from each question will be comparedConclusionOverall the research followed a positivist approach, with an objective and deductive view from the researcher. The pilot was changed to suit the needs of the respondents. The aims and objectives were met within the methodology and the research. As the research followed a positivist approach, it could also follow a pragmatist view. This would provide them with a choice to have any other selection factors and as mentioned in the literature review there are increasing trends, which therefore open up to other selection factors.
Therefore, the research was from a pragmatist perspective, this would then allow the model to be tested and a second research method such as a mixed method, to provide new knowledge.