There are many types of events that are popular around the world, from small intimate events to world-class events on the international stage, there is a lot to know about the event tourism industry! In this article I will teach you about the different types of events and why they are so important to the travel and tourism industry. Ready to learn more? Read on…
What is an event?
Event tourism is a big industry around the world. Whilst there is a lot that goes into events, to put it simply an event is just a thing that happens – in the context of this article, it refers to a public or social occasion which has been planned in advance. Some events are formal, some are all about fun. Some events are big, some are small, but there are many different types of events. You can find them below, with examples and information included!
There are a few examples of business events. These include:
- Annual General Meeting (AGM)
- Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) – This refers to general meetings outside of the yearly scheduled AGM, usually to deal with urgent matters which occur in between AGMs.
- Awards Evening
- Balls (typically for fundraising)
- Formal Dinners
- Team Building Events
These events tend to be exclusive to employees and/or shareholders of a particular business and form part of the business tourism industry. Some may extend invitations to sponsors, investors, employee family members and so on, particularly for balls and awards evenings.
Business events may be held in various venues. AGMs and EGMs are usually held on the business’ own premises if they are big enough to host all of the people who need to be there. If not, they might be held in a hotel or conference space with more room. Team building events happen in all sorts of places depending on what they are – you might visit an escape room or activity centre, or go to a venue specifically aimed at team building.
Global and national sporting events
There are many examples within these types of event and it is common for sports tourism and event tourism to intertwine. This is to be expected as there are so many different sports, all of which have competitions. Some specific examples include:
There are so many more examples, with most sports participating in domestic leagues as well as international and global cups and competitions. These are some of the most popular and famous events, all of which you likely will have heard of. You may have even attended some of these, or at least watched on TV.
Depending on the type of sport, they are held at different venues. Tennis competitions like the French Open and Wimbledon are held at large tennis clubs with multiple courts and plenty of space for spectators. Football matches in domestic leagues such as the Bundesliga and Premier League are held at each clubs’ respective stadium. When it comes to the competitions under the Olympic umbrella, they are held in large purpose-built arenas (as well as making use of smaller existing stadiums and arenas) in a different host country every four years.
Sporting events bring in a lot of money through tickets, merchandise, refreshments and more, making these types of events very important to the travel and tourism industry.
Large-scale recreation events
These types of events also come in many variations – most large-scale recreation events are held outdoors due to the nature of them, and they cover a lot of different niches or interests. You can see some examples below:
- Flower shows such as the Chelsea Flower Show or the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show
- Regional food fairs such as the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California or the Taste Cheshire Food and Drink Festival
- Town or city Christmas light switch-ons
- Bonfire and firework displays
Some of these types of events are free entry, while others are ticketed. Christmas light events are just a one-evening type of thing, whereas flower shows and food fairs might last a few days or even a week. Often there will be stalls to buy food, drinks and souvenirs too!
Local interest events
Local interest events are types of events that are much more community-focused events. Often they are organised and attended only by locals – people generally don’t visit from out of town specifically to attend these types of events unless they have a personal interest in it for some reason. There is also often a charity focus with these types of events. Examples include:
- Fun runs, colour runs & mud runs
- County fairs (in the US)
- Country fairs (in the UK)
- Village fetes
- Collectors’ fairs
- Car boot sales
For the most part, these examples are outdoor types of events. This is simply due to the need for a lot of space, and also because with country/county fairs there are a lot of animal-related events and shows which by their very nature need to take place outside. There is often an entry fee for these events. With fun runs and village fetes particularly, there is a large fundraising aim involved. You can sponsor people to complete their run, or donate money in other ways.
Entertainment events are some of the biggest types of events – and they, like sporting events, bring in a huge amount of revenue. Generally they are ticketed (unless it is a specific free event) and merchandise is sold alongside food and drink. Examples include:
- Music festivals
- Theatre shows such as plays and musicals
- Theatre festivals
- Mardis Gras
- LGBT+ Pride events
- Fan conventions e.g Comic Con
Depending on the nature of the event, venues will differ. Music festivals tend to be outdoor events stretching over a few days – as such, they will cover a large amount of space to account for stages, audience viewing areas, food stalls, toilets and accommodation/campsite areas. However, concerts are more of a ‘one night in each location’ event. Depending on how many tickets the band or artist puts on sale, they will take place in an arena, stadium or smaller local venue.
Pride events also differ from each other but many follow the idea that the first ever one was a protest. Modern prides may incorporate singers and entertainment but most do generally include a march of some sort.
There is always something to celebrate! As celebrations tend to be organised by individuals, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to venues, sizes, the order in which things go and so on. You might celebrate these events at home if there are only a few of you, or hire a huge venue if you want to invite everybody you know! Some examples are:
- Wedding receptions
- Christening parties
- Birthday parties
- Graduation parties
- Baby showers
- Prom nights
- Royal events
- Religious festivals
These types of events are all, of course, very different from each other. They share in the fact that they are celebratory by nature but often that is where the similarity ends. You might host your wedding reception at a local hotel, whereas royal events are often marked by street parties. Again, it is up to you with this kind of celebration where you have it, who you invite, what the dress code is and so on!
Social enterprise events
These types of events are usually aimed at fundraising for a specific cause, no matter how big or small that cause is. They might include:
- Charity dinners, galas or balls
- Charity football matches
- Race nights
- Bake sales
- Charity fashion shows
There are many other examples to be found, but these are some of the most common. Again they vary when it comes to the venue, as this is dependent on the type of event. Bake sales are likely to be held at church halls or schools, whereas charity galas will be in posh hotels and race nights generally occur in pubs.
These events are usually ticketed with the cost of your ticket going to the charity. There will also be other chances to donate on the night, usually in exchange for an experience or item.
Conferences are an additional type of business event – but they are a whole type of event in their own right with a lot to cover. They are so diverse in nature, ranging from small local conferences to global conferences. There are internal company conferences, industry-wide conferences and also public conferences. Some are a one-day event while others are overnight or even lasting up to a week; many are now also streamed online which is great in terms of accessibility and also reducing the need to travel, thus having a positive impact on the environment.
Conferences also include a lot of different elements. Some of these are:
- Staff training sessions
- Keynote sessions
- Breakout sessions
- Team bonding exercises
- Promotional talks
From political conferences to technology conferences, these are a major type of event.
When a brand or company wants to launch a new product of some sort, there are a lot of promotional events which will occur. These vary entirely by nature, but are linked by the fact they are all used to promote the new product. They include:
- Trade shows
- Product launches
- Press conferences
- Publicity stunts e.g flash mobs
- Touring campaigns e.g handing out freebies in city centres
There are many examples you will be able to think of when it comes to promotional events!
Last but not least we have exhibitions. These types of events take place specifically in exhibition centres which are large-scale venues in central locations with excellent transport links, plenty of parking, and brilliant customer facilities. There will generally be a lot of hotels nearby so people participating in the exhibition have somewhere to stay. Exhibitions also tend to run over a few days. Some great examples include:
- Higher Education Exhibition
- The Clothes Show
- American Trucking Show
There are exhibitions for every niche, topic, interest and area. They are used to promote innovations, sell products, educate people and so much more.
Types of events- further reading
If you enjoyed this article on the different types of events, I am sure that you will love these articles too!
- 150 types of tourism! The ultimate tourism glossary
- Types of rail transport | Understanding tourism
- Types of tourist destinations | Understanding tourism
- Types of air transport
- Types of hotels | Understanding tourism