Student and supervisor duo win Best Paper Award

Posted on December 10, 2021

University of Pretoria (UP) PhD student Bianca Frost and her supervisor, Professor Elizabeth du Preez of the Department of Marketing Management, received the Best Paper Award at the Making Waves in Africa conference.

The hybrid conference, which took place in Cape Town from 16 to 18 November 2021, formed part of the International Conference on Events (ICE), a series of conferences organised by a team of international academics in events and festivals research. Hosted by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the 2021 conference brought together experts from across the globe to collaborate, present their research and create new waves of support for reimagining events post COVID-19.

Prof Du Preez and Frost were invited to the conference where they delivered their paper titled, ‘A social listening study exploring sports event brand love amidst the COVID-19 crisis: Was it really love?’ This paper, which received the Best Paper Award (the Dr Mathilda van Niekerk Best Paper Award), explored event brand love of a high-profile international marathon event that was subjected to the COVID-19 crisis. The impact of the event’s crisis response strategy (CRS) on the proposed enduring effects of brand love was also considered. The paper showed that brand love emerged in online conversations of marathon runners, and showed that event participants experienced intense separation anxiety from not being able to partake in their ‘beloved’ events during the initial stages of COVID-19.

In this paper, Prof Du Preez and Frost concluded that, despite the benefits of brand love within a crisis context, brand love cannot negate all negative effects of a crisis for a brand. Given this, it is important that organisations do not solely rely on their consumers’ love for their brands during a crisis, but also focus on implementing suitable crisis response strategies, stated Prof Du Preez and Frost during their presentation.

Prof Du Preez has made contributions to tourism research through three other conference presentations. The first of these was in collaboration with Dr Mathilda du Preez, a postdoctoral researcher at the Technical University Delft, Netherlands. The study was commissioned by the Event Greening Forum, a leader in event greening initiatives in South Africa. This study explored sustainability in exhibitions, with a specific focus on wood waste practices among exhibition stand builders. The other two were based on studies conducted with her master’s degree students in Tourism Management, Nosi Mahlangu and Mihloti Modiba. The first study explored the role of destination management organisations in developing business tourism in South Africa and Africa, while the second considered factors driving social media sharing of younger sports spectators’ experiences.

The success of the ICE conference attests to the importance of event and festival tourism in the broader tourism economy. With many challenges lying ahead as the industry emerges from severe COVID-19 restrictions, tourism research is more important than ever in a quest to aid the restoration of economic activities. Visit UP’s Department of Marketing Management’s webpage for postgraduate tourism management programmes and short courses

- Author Department of Marketing Management
Published by Refilwe Mabula

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