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Magnolia Cottage Survey May 3, 2011 Dr. Susan Waters PRCM 4510

By: Izzy Hortman Paige Robinson Camille Mallery Kelley Andrews Jamie Nolen 1


Table of Contents

Executive Summary: pages 3-4 Literature Review: pages 5-9 Method: page 10-11 Purpose: page 12 Design: page 13 Participants: pages 14-15 Procedure: pages 16-17 Discussion: page 18

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Executive Summary: Magnolia Cottage and the seven acres of land surrounding it have been purchased and are in the process of being renovated by Donna Forbus. After being renovated, the interior of the cottage will include and provide a large room with folding chairs and round tables, a sofa, a fireplace, a small flat screen television with basic cable, and a microphone with a loudspeaker; a kitchen with a refrigerator, stove, oven, two sinks, a microwave, limited cooking supplies, and a pantry; and a half-bathroom; two smaller sized rooms, which could be used as dressing rooms, one of which includes a closet with a security camera system. The exterior of the cottage will include a screened-in front porch with ceiling fans, a cement back patio with outdoor electrical units, a small gazebo behind the cottage, a creek, a landscaped garden, and an area leveled to supply parking space to guests. Originally, Donna wished to advertise the property as a venue for wedding receptions, but upon discussing with our group, she decided that it also would serve as a suitable location to host birthday parties, football weekend tailgates, baby/bridal showers, holiday parties, sisterhood/brotherhood retreats, family reunions, business luncheons, church retreats, and boy/girl scout functions, so long as the persons in charge of the functions agree to take responsibility for all guests and their actions. Donna hopes that large groups of people, 50 to 300, will pay an hourly wage to use her venue and will choose to pay according to packages, which she will provide to accommodate certain hosts for each event.

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As concluded from our survey results, prospective clients would like for Donna to include a website for advertising, information, and booking. We recommend for Donna to provide a telephone number and an email address specific to Magnolia Cottage events for client communication purposes. Most prospective clients appreciate the idea of Donna offering packages to her hosts. Hosts are interested in paying Donna to supply extra amenities for the venue, such as a caterer, a bartender, and a cleaning crew. According to the multiple choice questions on our survey, some prospective clients are interested in paying Donna to provide a security officer and a photographer. According to our open-ended questions, some customers would additionally like for Donna to include waiters, tableware, music, transportation to and from the venue, extra restrooms, an alternative plan should weather affect the event, and information on customer liability. With knowledge of our survey results and analysis, Donna can now modify her plans for Magnolia Cottage to better support her customer’s needs.

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Literature review: Client and Venue Overview

Our client contact is Donna Forbus, owner of Magnolia Cottage. This event venue is available to host small gatherings of 125 guests inside and a total 300 inside and outside. A screen encloses the front porch and French double doors add instant character to the exterior. A concrete patio slab outside is suited to hosting an enclosed tent for dancing, outdoor celebrations, and so on. The inside walls of Magnolia Cottage are remodeled cedar that will add a touch of class to any event.

This unique venue is placed on an open seven-acre field, with a colorful garden and quiet stream on the premises. The concrete patio has space to seat 125 guests outside with round tables of eight chairs each. Table clothes are provided, as well as decorative chair covers and ties. Magnolia Cottage has a full-scale kitchen, complete with an oven, refrigerator, and three restaurant style sinks.

With the installation of a drive-away option at the kitchen, guests can hire a catering service to unload ingredients and begin production immediately. To ensure guest safety, Magnolia Cottage runs a security camera surveying the venue and entire outdoor expanse. In addition, Magnolia Cottage offers the option to rent security personnel for the allotted time of a special event.

With the hopes of attracting customers, Magnolia Cottage offers reasonable prices to rent the attractive venue. Guests can expect to pay $200 for four hours, $400 for eight 5


hours, $800 for twelve hours, etc. Ms. Forbus stated, “We hope to facilitate those getting married on a budget.”

Magnolia Cottage represents the perfect opportunity to host wedding receptions, bridal showers, family reunions, church retreats, football weekend celebrations, or Boy Scout Foundation Camp Days, to name a few. Already with no complaints, Magnolia Cottage has hosted a successful wedding reception of 120 guests and a baby shower of 15 attendees. “Magnolia Cottage is a very laid back place,” affirmed Ms. Forbus. The Qualtrics survey our team developed asked our audience to divulge their preferences to assist Magnolia Cottage in maximizing their options. We hope to recommend Magnolia Cottage to the Auburn area as the next go-to getaway for an enjoyable experience.

Purpose of Project

The purpose of this project was to gather event planning information and strategies for Magnolia Cottage. As an up-and-coming event venue, Magnolia Cottage sought to identify what customers were looking for in a small party venue. To measure what customers expected from the ideal event venue, our team developed a survey to give our clients options to choose from and available spaces to specify their needs. A crosssectional design was selected for the layout of our survey.

Our survey consisted of various types of questions, ranging from Likert scale-type questions, multiple choice questions, demographic questions and three open-ended questions. The survey was established to give a good overview to the owners of 6


Magnolia Cottage to understand what the target audience sought in an event venue of this nature. Through careful construction, our campaign group created questions that touched on sex, race, relationship status, the types of events to host, what is important to the customer in choosing a venue, if there is interest in using a 7-acre piece of land, options for cleaning, preferences for booking the venue, and supplying a list of caterers, bartenders, and photographers which served as a measuring instrument. We created the survey through Qualtrics and distributed it via Facebook, for peers to complete and fulfill the purpose of this campaign effort on behalf of Magnolia Cottage.

Specific Questions for Client

In order to gauge the existing amenities and services Magnolia Cottage has to offer, we asked the owners the following questions.

1. What can Magnolia Cottage offer as a venue? 

“We think the venue can offer various events from wedding/baby showers, weddings and wedding receptions, church retreats, business retreats, any special type of party (birthday, Christmas, New Year's), host family reunions, class reunions, and other special events that an individual or group would like to host.”

2. Why did you decide to create Magnolia Cottage as a venue? 

“We purchased the land because we fell in love with the property! It is a beautiful place to relax and just enjoy nature. Magnolia Cottage came from one of my best friend's daughter wanting to have her wedding reception at the property. The 7


cottage was in very bad condition, so we made an agreement that if my friend's family would help remodel and upgrade the cottage, we would provide the funds. After finishing the cottage for the wedding reception, we felt that we should utilize the cottage for more than just our friends and family. We have never managed a business, so it should be very interesting!”

3. How can you Magnolia Cottage flourish in the future? 

“We are not sure what the future holds for Magnolia Cottage. We are waiting to see how the rentals go and get some feedback from the customers. We have thought of building log cabins and making the area available for overnight rentals. We have also played with the idea of building a retirement community that is more in tune with the active retirees. It would be more along the lines of walking/fitness trails, having an on-site spa, offer classes taught through the university, travel groups, fitness trainers and the list can go on and on. We are open for suggestions!”

4. What benefit is Magnolia Cottage for the Auburn community? 

“We would like to see Magnolia Cottage develop as a positive part of the Auburn community. We want to add something that is needed for the public, but you can afford if you are on a budget. Our goal is to be positive influence within the community by providing a rustic, clean, comfortable and affordable venue to host your event within the peaceful setting of our confines. Magnolia Cottage is a perfect place for a lot of different things. It can be used for anything and everything you want to do. Hopefully Magnolia Cottage will evolve into 8


something that will last. We want to leave a legacy. It would make me so happy to know we made an impact on the community of Auburn and in others lives.�

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Method: Our team created an internet survey for Magnolia Cottage using Qualtrics through Auburn University. In order to create questions for the survey, we used information to us by our clients as well as information gathered from visiting and evaluating the venue. After carefully considering and listening to the objectives that our clients wished to accomplish through Magnolia Cottage, we formed a number of various questions to ask our publics. The questions were designed to obtain responses from a range of target audiences in order to gain knowledge on the expectations for an event venue. The survey consisted of a series of demographic questions followed by a number of multiple-choice style questions with a Likert-scale answer format. There were also three open-ended questions included. The survey was released online on April 19, 2011 through Facebook and E-mail. Our survey generated 125 attempts and 121 total responses. Using Qualtrics, we combined the survey results in order to evaluate the responses. We used cross-tabulation to view how people who fell in particular demographic categories answered certain questions. We also used Chi-square tests to evaluate the data. For each question, we also considered the minimum and maximum value, the mean, variance and standard deviation. To evaluate the open ended questions, our team combined results and typed a report of each answer to the three individual questions. We then tallied similar answers

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to gain a better understanding of common interests and opinions pertaining to the questions asked.

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Purpose: The purpose of this survey is to find the things that people are looking for in a small party venue such as Magnolia Cottage. We created this survey to ensure the customers that the feedback we received would help them create the ideal venue that people are looking for. According to the book, “a survey is a carefully constructed measuring instrument,� (Stacks, 224). Our goal was to measure what people expect out of an event location, and to give our clients and idea of what features need to be added or ideas about what may need to be removed.

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Design: We used a cross-sectional design when we created our survey. The way we decided to gather our data was via the internet. We posted the survey on our Facebook pages and received a good amount of feedback. We created a survey for Donna and Lib who own Magnolia Cottage. The survey we created consists of a variety of types of questions. We have questions concerning demographics, such as age and sex. We have many multiple choice questions; for example, we have a question about how many people you would expect at your function and some YES or NO questions. We also have many likert scale questions like, I feel comfortable using a webpage for booking my event. The last portion of our survey contains open ended questions. A few examples of some of these questions are What is your biggest concern in renting a venue and what would you expect to be included in a venue’s packages. See Appendix A for the complete survey.

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Participants: We surveyed 121 people using an online survey. The results are below. The demographics portion of our survey can be found in Appendix B in graph format. Sex •

75 percent of respondents are female •

25 percent of respondents are male

Race •

87 percent of respondents are Caucasian •

9 percent of respondents are African American

3 percent of respondents are Asian

2 percent of respondents are Hispanic

Age •

36 percent of respondents are Under 21 •

60 percent of respondents are ages 21-25

3 percent of respondents are ages 31-35

1 percent of respondents are ages 36-40

1 percent of respondents are ages 41-45

4 percent of respondents are ages 46-50

5 percent of respondents are Over 50

Relationship Status

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44 percent of respondents are Single •

40 percent of respondents are In a Relationship

1 percent of respondents are Engaged

14 percent of respondents are Married

1 percent of respondents are Divorced

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Procedure: We posted the link to our survey on our Facebook statuses, ergo every respondent found the survey via social media. All quantitative results of the attitudinal questions can be found in Appendix C. Below are some the most informative results. 

The majority of respondents (58 percent) would most likely host a birthday party in the next 12 months.

72 percent of respondents would expect less than 50 people at their function.

We found that 66 percent of respondents do not want to be charged by the hour.

55 percent of respondents would rather pay extra for a cleaning service instead of cleaning the venue themselves.

93 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel comfortable using face-to-face contact for booking their venue.

Only 7 percent of people disagree or strongly disagree that they feel comfortable confirming plans via telephone.

66 percent of respondents say it is important for a venue to supply a list of caterers.

55 percent of respondents say it is important for a venue to supply a list of bartenders.

Only 6 percent of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that they would like for a venue to offer packages.

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

38 percent of respondents were neutral about security cameras being at their venue.

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Discussion: As concluded from our survey results, prospective clients would like for Donna to include a website for advertising, information, and booking. We recommend for Donna to provide a telephone number and an email address specific to Magnolia Cottage events for client communication purposes. Most prospective clients appreciate the idea of Donna offering packages to her hosts. Hosts are interested in paying Donna to supply extra amenities for the venue, such as a caterer, a bartender, and a cleaning crew. According to the multiple choice questions on our survey, some prospective clients are interested in paying Donna to provide a security officer and a photographer. According to our open-ended questions, some customers would additionally like for Donna to include waiters, tableware, music, transportation to and from the venue, extra restrooms, an alternative plan should weather affect the event, and information on customer liability. With knowledge of our survey results and analysis, Donna can now modify her plans for Magnolia Cottage to better support her customer’s needs. Originally, Donna wished to advertise the property as a venue for wedding receptions, but upon discussing with our group, she decided that it also would serve as a suitable location to host birthday parties, football weekend tailgates, baby/bridal showers, holiday parties, sisterhood/brotherhood retreats, family reunions, business luncheons, church retreats, and boy/girl scout functions, so long as the persons in charge of the functions agree to take responsibility for all guests and their actions. Donna hopes that large groups of people, 50 to 300, will pay an hourly wage to use her venue and will choose to pay according to packages, which she will provide to accommodate certain hosts for each event.

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Magnolia Cottage  

This was done for my Survey Research Methods class at Auburn University.

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