Student survey reveals economic impact of food festival

“It's a win win situation – our students gain valuable experience and then we provide valuable feedback for the organisers.”

Jon Fairburn, Professor of Sustainable Development

Staffordshire University students have discovered that Stone Food and Drink Festival boosted the local economy by £750,000 last year.

This is the third time that the University's School of Business, Leadership and Economics has joined up with festival organisers to help run the event and collect data about its economic impact.

More than 600 visitors were asked questions about their average spend, group demographic and visitor satisfaction and BA (Hons) Tourism Management students Jade Bradley and Henry Greentree analysed the data their final year projects.

“Working with professionals from the industry has been brilliant and this practical experience will definitely help me when I graduate.” explained Jade, 21 from Stone.

“It is important to know what visitors are thinking so that you can target your marketing better and improve the customer experience. Seeing this project through from start to finish has been really interesting and it’s nice to know that the findings will hopefully help the festival continue to grow.”

65 per cent of those asked were return visitors and 60 per cent said they would actively promote the event to friends and colleagues. Of those asked, 94.6 per said they were either 'very satisfied' or 'satisfied' with their experience and the remaining 5.1 per cent claimed to be 'neither satisfied nor dissatisfied'.

Festival Chairman Richard Stevens said: "It's great to get feedback straight from the horse's mouth – the event is run entirely by volunteers who put on a fantastic event for people to enjoy whilst bringing visitors into the town to boost the local economy. The survey results help us ensure that we are meeting both of these aims and can continue to improve the event in coming years.”

During the three-day event at Westbridge Park students also gained hands on experience managing publicity on social media, looking after customer relations and acting as ushers.

Jon Fairburn, Professor of Sustainable Development, added: “It's a win win situation – our students gain valuable experience and then we provide valuable feedback for the organisers.”


Amy Platts
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