Millions of events and festivals take place all over the world every day. People attend these events depending on their likes and interests in order to gather experience. There are specific factors that appeal to these individuals leading them to develop a set of expectations about an event. Event sponsors and planners are therefore left with a challenging task of identifying and meeting these expectations to make visitors want to attend the events once more. Event assessment is usually concerned with measurement as well as monitoring of its key variables. The assessment primarily aims at determining both positive and negative outcomes arising from these variables. In this essay, a review of 2015 Formula 1 event that took place in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit will be discussed. Promotional activities as well as the sense of place regarding the event will be analyzed. In addition, the essay will explore visitors’ experience regarding their expectations.
The event was advertised by different media. Etihad airways were the major sponsor of the event terming it the Middle East biggest international sporting event. The most appellant was the Etihad TV commercial titled, ‘Feed your need for speed’ (Etihad Airways, 2015). This advertising has been done since the beginning of November 2015. The Yas Marina Circuit also used their website as well as their Facebook page to advertise the event and always keep online fans updated with the latest information regarding the event. These activities aided in providing favorable effect on the target audience.
Gulf newspaper, the mostly read newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, also played a big role in developing interest among readers. Several weeks prior to the event, the newspaper provided a column where they advertised it. In addition, they offered in-depth insight into the racing event covering details of the press conference held for the racers. An example was Lewis Hamilton, who discussed how car number 44 was of interest as he was gunning to win his 44th Grand Prix race at Yas Marina Circuit (Gulf News, 2015). It is evident that such news is able to build interest among readers to attend the event.
Sense of Place
Choice of Venue
The Yas Marinas circuit is one of the most luxurious and exciting venues for racing events. It offers an awe-inspiring experience both to drivers and spectators. It is endowed with a brilliant waterfront setting that could only rival the likes of Singapore and Monaco. The circuit also features 60-meter towers embedded with solar powers shams. Cars can be seen through a pit lane to a tunnel that passes under the track. The various grandstands around the racing track are well positioned. The spectators get perfect observation points from where they are able to watch the F1 action unfold.
The event’s venue also guarantees an unparalleled social experience. The atmosphere is exciting, especially with the harbor so close. It is a perfect setting as it is interesting to begin races in the daylight and end at night. The mood and the tone of the event are electric as F1 hardcore fans treat themselves to a true taste of Ferrari’s homeland and the sound of roaring engines. The vibe with cheering and chatting to one another as well as the celebrations that engulf the air in enjoyment is incredible. It was engrossing as it made one feel almost like they are in the heart of the action.
Off the track, the service facilities that exist within and around the circuit were also outstanding. Some include the stunning Yas Viceroy hotel, Yas Marina and the Cipriani Yas island hotels that are quite affordable. These facilities offer excellent hospitality and lavish off-the-track action. The entertainment during the course of the event displays Abu Dhabi at its finest. There were live events hosting performance from renowned international artists such as Akon, Ludacris, and 50 Cent. International DJ added to the winning atmosphere while keeping fans on their feet.
Hospitality/Catering and Staff Interactions
There were plenty of volunteer activities held at the venue. I was part of Takatof, which is a program for social volunteering. It was a recruitment campaign targeting universities that aimed to lure more helpers in the days prior to the event. Our task involved assisting visitors with any help or inquiries they may have had during the event. The selected persons had to be in different parts of the circuit after being split into smaller groups. My base was at the West Grand Stage. This initiative was meant to enhance proper staffing and maintenance of order, especially to newcomers.
The most unforgettable entertainment experience was to see the professional drivers driving at speeds of over two hundred and seventy-five kilometers per hour, on the Abu Dhabi F1 track. All the audience at the stadium seemed to hold their breath every time two super-fast cars came close to each other. This phenomenon offered the crowd the best entertainment value during the event.
Access and Visitor Flow
Thousands of fans from the whole world flock into Abu Dhabi seeking to experience the thrill of Ferrari world and concerts in Yas arena. Visitors are able to access the venue by booking the tickets. Etihad airways were mostly responsible for offering a range of tickets that suited needs and budgets of those who wished to attend the event. They also presented a choice of hotels amongst the ones on Yas Island, which visitors could also book. A smooth experience that was free from disruptions was therefore guaranteed for the visitors, thus making it a memorable event for many.
Signage, Audio Visual and Special Effects
Although the crowd could see the race cars clearly on the track, they could also see the real action on Ultra HD gigantic screens hoisted high above the ground. All the screens had ultra 4K high definition capabilities, which amazed the audience by the clarity of the live stream. The stadium had numerous rotating strobe LED lights engineered to create a spelling pattern of all the names of the companies that sponsored the event. The lights created a distinguished signage that kept the audience glancing up to see the names created using the LED lighting technology.
Value for Money and Marketing and Promotional Collateral
Indeed, the event’s visitors obtained the value for their money given the extent of experience that one gets from such an exceptional experience. Most visitors claimed that the event exceeded their expectations from the track action to the live concerts that offered a great deal of grand entertainment. It is therefore true to say that the match between the promotion/advertising and delivery was well balanced. The visitors were further provided with golden tickets for the after-party. Due to the overwhelming attendance, it can be concluded that these activities created enhanced experience and customer loyalty. Moreover, mutual relationship between the event and the visitor was created.
How the Experience was Themed and Harmonization of Impressions with Positive Cues
Undoubtedly, people crave for experiences. This particular sporting activity has developed to an extent where a bundle of experience is created and sold to fans. The experience that the visitors received from attending the event was termed ‘Middle East biggest international sporting event.’ As such, the theme of the event or festival already leads clients to develop a set of expectations given the foundation connected with the theme. These impressions are harmonized through delivering the insinuated bundle of experience. In case of the analyzed event, it included unmatched F1 sporting action and social experience, thereby providing visitors with a memorable experience.
Eliminating Negative Cues and Mix of Memorabilia
With the aim of ensuring integrity of customers’ experiences, factors that may tend to deviate the mind of the visitors from the main theme of the event were eliminated. We find that designated people around the stadium were distributing free after-party tickets by hand instead of informing people about it through the venue announcement platform. Visitors around the stadium also obtained physical evidence as a reminder of the experience. Many could be spotted wearing T-shirts and hats that had emblazons of the theme on them. Visitors would therefore, attach the value of experience onto these items regardless of their prices.
Engagement of all Five Senses
The theme engages the sense of sight, smell, and sound to make the experience more memorable. The organizers of the event appeal to sight as visitors have actually to watch the racing events including the surroundings in order to gather experience. The sound of engines and tires screeching as well as the chants and celebration during the race were essential in making the event memorable. The sense of smell also had a key role. The smell of burnt rubber resulting from the tires treading on the track coupled with the fresh breeze from tee surrounding waterfront made the experience more fascinating.
Scripted Experience and Repeated Visitation
The experience is not completely scripted as the event sponsors only presented the event to those in attendance. The reason is that, some aspects of the experience are dependent on the other factors beyond the control of the event planners. For example, it is logical that, in such a setting, one cannot develop a memorable experience when he/she alone attends the event. Therefore, social interactions between people in an event or their mere attendance aids in creating memorable experiences. Repeated visitation is therefore possible due to the perfect organization of the event.
Formula 1 event in Yas Marina Circuit attracted people from different parts of the world in the previous years. Interacting with people from different backgrounds seemed to be exciting, and that made me look forward to that event. In my opinion, the event was fun and filled with overwhelming track entertainment, especially since I am a big fan of Lewis Hamilton. Even though Hamilton never won, I had an exceptional experience. Volunteering at the event provided me with an opportunity to interact with different people, all of whom seemed to be friendly. The music and entertainment including the after-party were immense fun. The Yas Marina Circuit therefore remains a place that I would not hesitate to visit again when I get a chance.