Prospects and Challenges - Dorben Polytechnic, Nigeria

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PROSPECT AND CHALLENGES OF EVENT MANAGEMENT
BY
PROFESSOR C.I.C. OKOLI, KSJI, FHATMAN
HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT
IMO STATE UNIVERSITY, OWERRI
E-mail: [email protected]
www.chuokoli.com
PAPER PRESENTED AT THE 1ST NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EVENT MANAGEMENT
ORGANIZED BY THE IRISH ACADEMY OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN
COLLABORATION WITH DORBEN POLYTECHNIC, ABUJA HELD AT ABUJA ON 11TH
– 12TH MARCH, 2014.
INTRODUCTION
“No event, no history”. The age-long saying betrays the etymological
background and contextual dimension of event derived from the Latin
word,
"eventus",
meaning
happening,
event
is
a
memorable
public
occasion which a large number of people is invited. Often joyous but
seldom sorrowful, events of various scopes and levels are organized for
a number- of purposes by individuals, groups and corporate entities;
celebrations, fund raising, public awareness, pilgrimage, crusade,
sports, public presentation, etc. The biblical accounts of the wedding
at Canan and the Royal Banquet are indications that event transcends
ancient and modern traditions, Extant definitions of event have been
attempted by Bhatia (2006) and Okoii (2007). Event is classified 'in
terms of size (scope) and type, (Getz, 1997).
1. Major Events: These are events that are capable of attracting
significant number of visitors, media coverage and economic benefits,
Many national and international sporting championships and cultural
festivals fall into this category e.g. World cup finals, Olympic Games,
African cup of championships, Oshun-Oshogbo and Argungu fishing
festivals, etc.
2. Hallmark Events: These refer to events that are indentified with the
spirit dof echoes of a town, city or region and have become synonymous
with the name of the location or venue, gained wide recognition and are
organized primarily to enhance awareness, appeal and profitability of a
tourism destination. E.g. Rio Carnival (Brazil) Calabar carnival,
Oshun-Oshogbo, Argungu fishing festival etc.
3. Mega Events: These are those events that attract extra-ordinary
high level of media coverage, prestige or economic impact for the
host community or destination. Getz (1997) describes a mega event
in this vein: The volume of participants or visitors should exceed
one million, its capital costs should be ‘a must see’ event by
way of its size or significance. Hall (1992) sees mega events as
those events which are expressly targeted at the international
tourism market and may be suitably described as ‘mega’ by virtue
of their size in terms of attendance, target market, level of
public
finance
involved,
political
effects,
extent
of
media
coverage, construction of facilities and impact on the economic and
social fabric of the community. According to Cable News Network
(CNN) the 2014 Winter Olympic (soh 2014 Feb. 8th – Feb. 24th cost
Russia 68 billion US Dollars and involved fifteen thousand athletes
from 35 countries.
In terms of type, Okoli (2011) categorizes events into the following:
•
Social: Wedding, house warming, reception, celebration
•
Economic: Annual General Meetings, trade fairs, industrial expo.
•
Educational: Matriculation, graduation, conference
•
Religion: Pilgrimage, crusade, congress
•
Political: Congress, inauguration, convention
•
Sports: Tournaments, competition, etc.
Each event in any of these categories finds its level In terms of
organization and attendance and also makes its own history. We
recall with nostalgia some epoch making events that took place in
the century:
•
The funeral of princess Diana in London in 1997
•
The funeral of Michael Jackson in Los, Angeles, USA, June 2009.
•
The funeral of Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, South Africa, December,
2013:
•
The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Princess Catherine in London in
2011.
•
The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth of England in May, 2012.
•
The inauguration of Barak Obama as the first black President of USA in
Jan, 2009.
•
The London Olympic and Paralympics in July 2012.
•
The World Cup Finals in South Africa July, 2010.
•
The African Cup of National Competition, South African Jan, 2013.
•
The World Economic Summit, Devos, Switzerland, December 2013.
•
The Sochi Winter Olympics, 8th Feb-24th February, 2014.
All of the above are social, political and sporting events of major and
mega dimensions. These events took place and history was made.
In this millennium, event has become a big deal. Countries jostle for
hosting rights of mega events, organizations competitively bid for
construction of facilities while individuals and companies apply to be
engaged in the organization and management of events.
Currently, event is high up a Nigerian social trajectory ignoring the harsh
economic environment in the country. Nigerians still find resources and
time to celebrate birthdays, weddings, child dedication and other private
family events. The generality of Nigerians relish festivals which Getz
(1996) referred to as themed public celebrations which extend leisure and
cultural opportunities beyond everyday experiences and choices.
Such themed calanderical events, include the Christmas, New Year, Easter,
Id L’fitri and Id L’malud, Valentine day and National. The social diary
of every Nigerian tends to be congested seven days of the week. The week
days ,(Monday-Friday) are set aside for conferences, workshops, corporate
board meetings, matriculation, convocation, book/product launching while
the
weekends
have
slots
for
burials,
weddings,
child
dedications,
fundraising, anniversaries, thanksgivings and harvests etc. Opportunities
throw themselves up, once in a short while, for Nigerians to get together
in droves under one roof for a common purpose: celebration, fundraising,
launching and publicity, etc.
A good number of these events are hosted by government, corporate bodies
and private individuals and groups of individuals who have the resources
but lack time and disposition in their wisdom, they choose to outsource the
hosting. There are also those who provide and market event facilities and
items. The symbiotic and synergistic linkages between the event brokers and
facility providers have created the entrepreneurial investment cluster of
event management which has become a new paradigm of hospitality industry.
So far, we have attempted to establish the concept and context of
event as well as its trend in Nigeria. This paper will evaluate the
investment opportunities in event management and their chances of
sustainable
success
in
Nigeria's
hospitality
market,
the
contemporary issues and challenges being encountered down the road.
THE BUSINESS OF EVENT MANAGEMENT
No matter the type and size of an event, the host looks forward to
a successful showing in terms of the turn-out and achieving the set
objectives. The event activities need to be planned, organized,
coordinated and controlled. In order Words, management functions
need to be applied. The totality of decisions, tasks and activities
that are involved in the hosting of an event is event management.
Event
management
requires
cognitive
ability,
technical
and
communication skills while event management business it evaluate in
terms of both financial and technical feasibility.
In
event
management
decisions
need
following:
•
Theme of the event
•
Venue / location
•
Date
•
Invitations
•
Budgeting / finance
•
Programme
•
Protocol (Usher, MC, D.J. Servers)
•
Arrangement of venue
•
Logistics
•
Entertainment
•
Security
•
Publicity / Public relations
to
be
taken
regarding
the
Any event to which more than 1000 people are invited will be
considered as a big even and should be handled professionally,
otherwise situation at the hosting venue would be chaotic. The
activities
and
tasks
are,
therefore,
partially
to
professionals
even
out-sourced
planners
of
entirely
or
management
professionalism in event management entails offering consultancy
services to prospective hosts, planning and proposing for hosting
of events, handling various aspects of hosting tasks and activities
and
supplying
personnel.
and
providing
event
facilities,
materials
and
Another important players in the event management field are the
entrepreneurs an investors. These are people who stake their
resources in event projects with a view to making some returns in
due course. These business men and women hold out their property
for rent or lease as banquet halls, convention halls, campsites,
outdoor
recreational
facilities.
They
also
operate
catering
services, rentals for canopies, chairs and communication systems
and assorted event accessories. Okoli (2013) notes that seven days
in the week (Sunday through Saturdays) young and middle-aged
Nigerians
earn
their
living
through
planning,
organizing
and
providing support materials and services for conferences, weddings
and funerals. Event management is receiving due consideration by
entrepreneurs
as
a
very
profitable
venture,
a
fast
growing
commercial cluster looking to become the hub of the hospitality and
tourism industry.
Prospects of Event Management Enterprise in Nigeria
Okoli
(2012)
observes
that
event
is
the
current
trend
in
the
hospitality industry. Event-driven catering enterprises have emerged in
major Nigerian cities. Banqueting and outdoor catering are now the
flourishing aspects of hotel operations while contract catering has
become a lucrative business. Banquet halls, reception halls, town halls
and event tents have become common features of hotel property planning,
design
and
layout
management:
bookings
for
.event
venues
are
outstripping those for accommodation. A good number of hotels in the
cities
actually
earn
more
revenues
for
event
hosting
than
from
accommodation and food and beverage services, conferences, conventions,
annual general meetings during week days and wedding receptions at week
ends.
Now and in the near future, event management will continue to occupy
the centre stage of commercial hospitality in Nigeria. Socio-economic
horizon of corporate Nigeria very much favours investments and
entrepreneurship in event management:
1. The prevailing economic order dictates private sector-driven market
economy. There has been an upsurge in private enterprises as a reaction
to this development, investors are breaking new grounds in logistics
technologies and processes to hosting social and sports events.
2. About 60% of Nigerians are estimated to be within 19-39 years age
bracket. This is the most mobile, active and industrious demographic
group. It is this ,group that organizes and participates in events and
have the capacity for event business undertakings.
3. At the turn of the century (2151 ) the Nigerian middle class has
expected the level of urbanization and personal and corporate
incomes have also increased. There is a growing trend towards
elaborate celebrations of life, death and achievement, Fridays,
Saturdays and Sundays have been appropriated for such events.
4. Nigeria has been rated as the second largest economy and the most
populous country in Africa. This rating confers on her an enormous
strategic business advantage, Nigeria is a large market for event
products and services which investors and entrepreneurs already
have at their disposal.
5. Nigerians are in the golden age of events-book launch, product
launch,
annual
general
meetings,
high
society,
weddings,
big
sports, hosting, political summit, hosting, etc investors and
entrepreneurs in event, management will nave to buy into this event
goldmine.
6. Growing rate of urbanization and urban-rural integration holds
good, promise for event management Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Kano,
Port-Harcourt, Onitsha and Owerri have witnessed enormous increase
in landmass, urbanization and population. These cities have become
mega and metro' cities and now have the so-called, satellite towns,
e.g. “Greater Owerri”. Lagos is placed as the second largest city
in Africa after Cairo but it is the continent's fastest growing
city, The population of Lagos is being projected to 25 million by
the next (2016) census. In the South. East the rate of urban-rural
integration is such that one begins to wonder whether rural areas
do exist any longer e.g. Onitsha - Nnewi axis, Onitsha-Ihiala,
Nnewi- Mgbidi-Oru - Ihialla, Oru - Akokwa, etc. These urban-rural
integration phenomena have given rise to rapid commercial and
industrial development which is being leveraged by the event
management entrepreneurs.
7. The current level of community development human development and
social awareness in Nigeria is impressive and is being also
leveraged by event entrepreneurs and investors for successful and
profitable event management business. Event is people oriented
activity
and
only
enlightened
minds
and
socially
disposed
individuals will think of such “past times” as anniversaries,
celebrations, public relations and high profile wedding receptions
as hosts or invitees.
8. Despite few occasional political hiccups in the polity, Nigeria has
remained
relatively
peaceful
and
politically
stable.
Being
resilient, Nigerians have a track record of always and at all times
being able to get over challenges or nation-building and friendly and hospitable disposition, her rising profile in international
sports and diplomacy all add up to her credentials forbidding for
the hosting right for any international event. Only in 2003,
Nigeria hosted the African Cup of Nations Competition (COJA, 2003)
and the Common Wealth meeting of Heads of State and Government
(CHOGM, 2003).
9. The rating of event management as successful business by Nigerian
entrepreneurs and investors is high. Survey was conducted on a
selected number of people involved in event business drawl. from
hotels restaurants, rentals, event planners and organizers and
providers/suppliers of event support materials based in Owerri,
lrno State capital (Okoli, 2013). The findings of the study
indicate that:
(i)Nigerian investors and entrepreneurs are sufficiently aware of the
enormous business, opportunities existing in event management.
(ii)Nigerian
investors
and
entrepreneurs
highly
appreciate
event
management as profitable business venture.
(iii)Event management is making significant impact on the hospitality
industry in Nigeria.
(iv)The prospects of event management in Nigeria are very bright.
The Challenges in Event Management Business
Despite
the
enormous
opportunities
that
exist
in
the
event
management business there are some challenges that confront the
event entrepreneur and investor:
1. Competition: Being a new field event management that attracted a
large number of people within a short time and this The new entrant
into the business is faced wit the problem of finding his feet in a
turf that is not level each investor enters the field at his own
operational level according to the resources at his disposal. The
job puts him on the edge. To remain in business, therefore, he has
to be innovative, resourceful and hardworking.
2. Event management is a complex web of activities. One, therefore,
requires
training
and
experience
in
technical,
social
and
managerial skill before Venturing into the business.
3. Event management business requires reaching out to prospective
clientele. Mobility, connectivity and high level contacts are
necessary. Information and communication technologies need to be
acquired and utilized by event management entrepreneur. Not many
entrepreneurs
in
event
management
can
afford
these
essential
facilities.
4. Like every other consultancy and contract deals, event management
business does not come-by regularly. Therefore, income from event
management business in not regular. This situation throws up the
challenge of economic planning and financial management on the even
manager. Uncertainty of the outcomes of the investment makes event
business risky.
5. Perhaps the greatest challenges facing event business entrepreneurs
in Nigeria is lack of capacity: financial, technical, structural
and human. The entrepreneurs do not have free access to the formal
financial institutions which consider event management as social
service and therefore, not bankable. This financial handicap debars
them from tapping into modern technologies of electronic board,
projectors, multi system's and CIT system.
Because the event managers lack the capacity to leverage the
innovation in technology, investment in event management is grossly
deficient in technical feasibility.
A good number of people who get involved in event management lack
professional training and expertise but event management requires
communication skill, public relations. Well equipped event centres are
lacking. Most events are conducted in make shift and substandard
venues. It is encouraging that there are venues of international
standard like the international conference centre, Abuja, the Ladi
Kwali Hall Sheraton Hotel, Yaradua centre Abuja, Muson centre and
“This Day” event centre in Lagos all the various event tents being
erected here and there However, Nigerians needs to invest in standard
event centres equipped with sound proof, audio-visual, C.I.T and
essential state-of-the art technologies in line with the exigencies of
globalization.
6. Infrastructural
deficit
being
experienced
across
the
country
especially electricity, rubs off on event Management. Electricity
is required not only to light up the venue but also to power
essential gadgets and instruments. The resilient Nigerians have
become used to power outages that occur even at the critical stage
of events. Event organizers always have to make contingency plans
for electricity supply which shoots up their operational costs and
which are transferred to clients. Electricity capacity of 3.3
thousand Kilo watts is grossly inadequate for a country harboring
an estimated population of 160 million people. Accessibility,
communicability and safety of event venues are also challenges that
need to be addressed.
CONCLUSION
Event management is fast evolving as business in Nigeria in recent
years a lot of Nigerian investors and entrepreneurs are staking their
capitals in event planning and organizing as well as in provision and
supply of event venues, materials and equipment. A lot of factors are
prevailing
to
offer
good
opportunities
for
success
in
event
investments. These include increasing rate of social development,
urbanization and. awareness coupled with expanding middle class and
broad range of mobile active demographic group. Despite the bright
prospects for event management there are some challenges of financial,
technical and infrastructural nature which need to be addressed in
order to get event management well on course as a fast growing economic
sector in Nigeria.
REFERENCES
Bhatia,
A.K.
(2006),
The
business
of
tourism,
concepts
and
strategies. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers.
Okoli, C. (2007), Event management: spotlight on hospitality and
Tourism. Owerri: VVebs Media Communications.
Okoli, C. (2012), Impact of event management on hospitality and
tourism.
Paper
presented
at
the
seminar
on
event
management
department of Archeology and tourism UNN 20th Sept, 2012.
Okoli,
C.
(2013),
Evolution
of
event
management
business
in
Nigeria. (in print) www.chuokoli.com
Getz, D. (1997), Event management and event tourism New York:
Cognizant communication corporation,

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