Enventure Research was appointed by Marketing Birmingham to conduct a survey among visitors to Birmingham’s Christmas market in order to understand the economic impact of Birmingham’s Christmas markets and events programme. Marketing Birmingham is the area’s strategic marketing partnership and operates the leisure and business tourism programmes Visit Birmingham and Meet Birmingham, which promote Birmingham and its wider area, including the Black Country and Solihull.
Each year, Birmingham city centre hosts the largest German Christmas market outside Germany and Austria, offering visitors a wide selection of food, drinks, gifts and live music. Known as the Frankfurt Christmas Market, it attracts a huge number of visitors (recorded at 5.5 million in 2014). 2016 marked both Birmingham’s 16th Frankfurt Christmas market and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Frankfurt-Birmingham Partnership Agreement, which began a period of collaboration between both cities. Therefore, a number of events were planned to celebrate this occasion, most notably the Christmas market, which for the first time ran over the whole Christmas period until 29th December.
A questionnaire was designed by Marketing Birmingham and Enventure Research to collect useful data from visitors via a face-to-face methodology. Topics covered in the survey included motivations to visit Birmingham (and what impact the markets and events programme had on this), levels of spend, visitor satisfaction, how the Birmingham Christmas markets compare with others in the UK and overseas, information sources used to plan visits and the impact of marketing and communication channels. The survey also collected visitor profile information (including numbers, frequency of vising, day/overnight visitors, origin and mode of travel) and key demographic information to allow the comparison of results across various subgroups.
The survey was designed in such a way that the results would be comparable to previous years’ surveys in order to track attitudes and perceptions over time. A mixture of questions from previous years and new questions were included and the survey took approximately five to seven minutes to complete.
Trained, locally based market research interviewers administered the survey face-to-face with visitors to the Birmingham Christmas markets in the five weeks leading up to Christmas. Interviews were conducted at different times, including weekdays, weekends, afternoons and evenings, and across both term-time and the school Christmas holiday period. This helped to ensure that a range of different visitors had the opportunity to participate in the survey. Interviewing staff received additional training in the aims and objectives of the research and abided by the Market Research Society Code of Conduct.
The survey was conducted at a number of pre-agreed sampling points around the Christmas markets area, including New Street, Victoria Square and Centenary Square. Interviewers approached every ‘nth’ visitor to produce a random sample, rather than a sample of similar visitors who were present at the same time. The actual frequency varied depending on the average footfall at different times of the day.
In total, 902 interviews were completed. The responses were analysed and used to produce an independent report which compared results with those from previous years. The results will be used by Marketing Birmingham to analyse year-on-year trends and to inform future funding, investment priorities and marketing and communication strategies.