Co-creating Experiences in Cultural Events: The Case of Three Portuguese Festivals
Experience co-creation has received much attention in tourism, events, and festivals literature. Often shared and consumed collectively, those experiences positively affect visitors’ satisfaction, the volume of expenditure, and levels of happiness, being essential for businesses, attractions, and destinations. As add-ons, co-creation experiences can play a significant role in diversifying and differentiating the supply of cultural events while contributing to fostering events and festivals as tools of territorial development. Within this context, this exploratory research aims to analyse the characteristics of co-creation experiences developed in three cultural events. Considering participation and personalisation as two relevant dimensions of experience co-creation, this paper analyses how they can be applied in the context of cultural events. The study follows a comparative approach, describing three cases of cultural events on the central coast of Portugal (Aveiro region). The methodology was based on participant observation and documental analysis of secondary data, namely the events and festivals characteristics, cultural programs, websites, and promotional materials. Major results indicate that two of the three events analysed have better conditions for the participation of visitors and the local communities, mainly due to the considerable number of activities that provide active participation and learning. On the other hand, one of the festivals fosters better conditions for the personalisation of services and experiences compared to the others, mainly due to the venue's characteristics and the way the program is designed. In that sense, the paper highlights the potential for the inclusion of co-creation experiences in events and festivals, providing a set of good practices for events and festival organisers and other tourism agents such as tourism businesses, tourism professionals, and local communities.
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