Event Experience: A Case Study of Differences Between the Way in Which Organizers Plan an Event Experience and the Way in Which Guests Receive the Experience


  • Graham Berridge


Event organizer, design, experience, guest experience, themed event, satisfaction


The purpose of the paper is to deepen our understanding of the nature of the planned event experience by examining if there are differences between the way in which organizers plan an event experience and the way in which guests receive the experience. Adopting a case study approach of a single themed event, a comparison is made between the aims of an event organizer and the experiences of guests. A single event organizer was questioned in order to understand what event experiences they wanted to create. Guests to the event were then asked to record their own experiences across a period of time and at different stages of the event. Data were then analyzed and related back to key concepts in experiential theory in order to demonstrate the types of experiences guests had received. The results suggest that, on this occasion, there was some evidence of a disjunction between the organizer’s understanding and concept of experience and those of the guests. Furthermore, the organizer showed, in some respects, a limited awareness of advanced underpinning ideas of the design of event experiences, especially the concept of theming. Similarly, and not unexpectedly, guests demonstrated a low level of experiential awareness and moderate levels of satisfaction. The essence of immersion and wow key objectives of the organizer were not achieved in the recording of guests’ experiences.