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Event Experiences Research

ATLAS Events Monitoring Project – Comparing Event Experiences


The ATLAS Events Special Interest Group was established in 2010, with a broad remit to act as a focus for events research and scholarship among ATLAS members. The group has already been active in organising specialist meetings on event themes, and has coordinated the production of the research monographs Exploring the Social Impact of Events (Routledge, 2013) and Event Design: Social perspectives and practices (Routledge, 2015). 

Subsequent discussions with members  identified a need to undertake comparative research to facilitate the identification of trends and developments in events internationally. At present many members are undertaking individual research projects, the findings of which are hard to compare across borders or over time. By developing a common core to their event research, the members of the project hope to undertake comparative analyses that will aid our understanding of event processes and outcomes.


The aims of the project are:

•            To provide a platform for comparative research on events worldwide

•            To improve our knowledge of events, their visitors and their impacts

•            To develop a database as a research resource and benchmarking tool for cultural and sporting events

•            To produce case studies of best practice in events development, marketing and research


To date, data have been collected from events in a number of different countries, including Portugal, Finland, Russia, the UK and Cyprus. Specific data have also been collected on Carnival events in different countries, including Brazil, Trinidad, Spain, France and the The Netherlands. These data have already revealed some interesting differences in the basic patterns of event attendance and experience. However, we have not yet explored the event experience in too much detail. The development of the Event Experience Scale (EES) is a good opportunity to analyse the differences in the nature of event experiences.

In the first stage of the project a small group of universities undertook research with the EES to compare the experience of events in different countries, cultures and types of events. The aim is to develop a series of publications that address these issues in an international comparative context.

The research partners use the same basic questionnaire including the EES items and questions relating to event visitation. The basic questionnaire can also be adjusted to include event-specific questions or questions related to specific student projects.

The basic research questions to be addressed include:

  • What is the relationship between event experiences and event type (sports, culture, business, etc.)?

  • How are event experiences affected by event content?

  • How do event experiences relate to event location (country, region, urban, rural, etc)?

  • How do different visitor types experience events?


By undertaking data collection together, the partners will be able to generate sufficient data to test a number of hypotheses related to the nature of event experiences with the use of a wide range of different statistical methods.


Research Instrument

The research is based largely on the use of surveys implemented at or after events. The questionnaires will focus on a number of key areas, including:


  • Reasons for attending

  • Information sources

  • Previous visits

  • Overall evaluation of event and satisfaction

  • Different aspects of event experience (EES scale)

  • Expenditure

  • Socio-demographic profile (age, education, occupation, media use)


This information has both academic and practical relevance. From an academic point of view the research h can contribute to the study of experiences, particularly as events represent a useful ‘laboratory’ in which to analyse experiences. It will also help us to identify the factors that influence experiences for different types of visitors and events.

For event organisers and policy makers useful data can be generated on the aspects of experiences that are important for visitors. This in turn will allow them to identify how the event experience can be improved, and the effect that such improvements might have on visitation, satisfaction and expenditure.


The group has produced a range of publications on event experiences in recent years. More details here



The events group holds regular research meetings, often in conjunction with the ATLAS Annual conference. For a review of past meetings, see the summary published in the Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events. For future events, please check the ATLAS website.



Partners will be responsible for collecting data on events selected by them. These data will be shared between the partners, giving them all access to a large amount of data on event experiences. Joint and individual publications will be generated by the project partners.

If you are interested in participating in the Event Experience monitoring project, please contact Greg Richards.



De Geus, S., Richards, G. and Toepoel, V. (2016 Conceptualisation and Operationalisation of Event and Festival Experiences: creation of an Event Experience Scale. Scandinavian Journal of Tourism and Hospitality.

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