Factors Driving Visitor Intention to Attend a Local Monthly Art Trail: An Exploratory Investigation
The First Friday Art Trail (FFAT) is a local fine arts event held monthly in Lubbock, Texas. Approximately 20 venues showcase artwork created by local and regional artists in a variety of medium, including painting, sculpture, drawing, and jewelry, among others. This research was conducted upon the request of personnel at both the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA) and the Lubbock Convention and Visitors Bureau (LCVB). The purpose of the study was to develop a profile of the FFAT visitors and investigate their motivations for attending the event. The mall intercept sampling technique was used to distribute a survey instrument at nine venue providers and at trolley stops during the FFAT in June, July, September, and November, 2009, resulting in 568 usable questionnaires. The 26 item motivation scale was adapted from the study by Crompton and McKay (1997) and from responses to open-ended questions in a pilot test at the March 2009 FFAT. Visitors surveyed (87.50%) were predominantly Lubbock residents; further females accounted for (58.10%) of the respondents. Slightly over half (52.64%), of the respondents were 18-29 years old of which 40% were students currently enrolled at local universities. The majority came with friends (57.92%), visited three to five venues (40.67%), and were repeat visitors with an intention to return (78.69%). Further, they planned to visit venues randomly on and off the trolley route. Typically, respondents did not purchase artwork from the FFAT vendors nor plan to return to purchase artwork. The primary source of the FFAT information was friends/family followed by word-of-mouth. Recommendations for future publicity included word-of-mouth and websites. Art and culture were cited as the best features. Frequent phrases used to describe the FFAT were fun, relaxing, and enjoyable. Twenty-six motivation items were factor analyzed, resulting in four motivation dimensions to attend the FFAT: Cultural exploration, Togetherness/Economy, Novelty, and Networking. A t test was used to determine if there were significant differences in motivations based on gender and between first time and repeat visitors. A one-way ANOVA was used for age, education and income. The results showed significant differences in motivations based on gender and between first time and repeat visitors. Female visitors were more highly motivated to visit the FFAT than male visitors; and repeat visitors were more highly motivated to visit the FFAT than first time visitors. Findings provide implications for artists, venue providers, and the event organizers for developing sustainability and entry strategies into the FFAT market.