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Evaluation and economic impact of Christmas Markets

Background

Market Place Europe have a strong commitment to the continuous development of their product and visitor experience, whilst always striving to add significant value to the wider economy of each host city.

Aware of our specialist research work for Exeter Cathedral, we were initially contacted by Type AB, Market Place Europe’s communications agency, and invited to tender for research work for their client.

Market Place Europe required evaluations, footfall counts and economic impacts reports for their Christmas Markets in Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle and Exeter.

It was essential that these evaluations would facilitate benchmarking and trend analysis with previous reports as well as include any additional information needed – for example the impact of a new Northern Ireland Food and Craft Showcase area at Belfast Christmas Market.

Challenge

All the markets attract significant footfall so it was vital that a robust approach was taken to capture the range of data needed. A representative sample survey was needed of those visiting the market as well as estimates of the overall number of visitors.

Our project planning required detailed consideration of a range of factors: the markets were different sizes, each had multiple entrances and exits, some were located across two sites (Glasgow) and their opening times and durations also varied.

 

Solution

We conducted face to face exit surveys with visitors at each market, across a spread of times, and over weekdays and weekends. This allowed us to capture key information required by our client for their ongoing development of the Markets, such as how visitors became aware of the market, and also look at a range of behavioural factors including frequency of visit and average spend. We also explored attitudinal factors including satisfaction and rating of key service criteria.

 

We completed enumerating shifts and deployed bi-directional counters at key entrances and exits to the markets to aid the calculation of the overall visitor numbers to each market for use in the economic impact assessment.

Outcome

We presented visitor survey and economic impact reports for each market to the client, benchmarking these against previous years where data was available and identifying trends or changes in behaviour. We were able to provide additional value by making recommendations based on the comparative data, site visits and feedback from our field teams.

The client and Type AB have been able to use the data to work to enhance the visitor experience of future markets and support successful bids for new Christmas Market tenders.