Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Ticket sales versus catering challenges for entrepreneurial hospitality workers at international events: A case studyof the Melbourne International Comedy Festival



Objective: The objective of the article is to examine the catering challenges for hospitality workers versus ticket sales at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) in terms of their entrepreneurial behaviour.

Research Design & Methods: This qualitative conceptual paper is based on interviewing hospitality workers at the MICF. Semi-structured interviews were used to survey venue managers and temporary hospitality workers whilst working at the MICF.

Findings: The findings showcase that although some service processes at international comedy festivals can improve, it is unlikely to change in any significant way due to the nature of how comedy festivals are operated and for the duration for the individual shows. It is not feasible to have too many full-time staff or event part-time staff when a temporary or casual work force can service ticket holders even though some people may have a negative experience. Therefore, the workers need to develop entrepreneurial skills in order to succeed in the competitive marketplace.

Implications & Recommendations: Investigating the challenges hospitality workers experience at the MICF when ticket sales are continually sold up until the performance is the first attempt at qualitative research in this field of study bridging the gap in event management, festival, and hospitality literature. It highlights the use of temporary hospitality workers as the main labour force of international comedy festivals and showcases some of the challenges hospitality workers experience. It acknowledges the need to think outside the box and to be innovative with work decisions.

Contribution & Value Added: This paper adds to the growing body of literature in challenges for the hospitality industry, temporary hospitality workers, international comedy events and last-minute ticket sales and offers practical implications to assist in future large-scale comedy and fringe festivals for the first time.



Melbourne International Comedy Festival, temporary hospitality workers; , ticket sales, stock control, festivals; events

(PDF) Save

Author Biography

Paul Strickland

Senior Lecturer, La Trobe University, Australia

Vanessa Ratten

Vanessa Ratten is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship a in the Department of Management, La Trobe Business School at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. She teaches Entrepreneurial Business Planning, Managing Innovation in Organisations, Corporate Venturing, Analyse & Ideate and Entrepreneurship. She has previously been on the business faculty of AACSB accredited universities including Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, USA), the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and Deakin University. She has a PhD from the UQ Business School at the University of Queensland, which focused on the role of organisational learning in an alliance context in the Information and Communication Technology industry. Her teaching interests focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. Vanessa enjoys teaching and seeing her students reach their full potential. She has over twenty years experience teaching a wide variety of undergraduate, postgraduate, MBA and executive level subjects. This includes subjects delivered in a weekly face to face mode, online, blended and intensive mode. She has published 2 textbooks related to her teaching expertise including "Analyse, Ideate and Grow: The Role of Creativity and Entrepreneurship" (Springer) and Managing Innovation in Organisations: Fostering an Entrepreneurial Approach" (Springer). She has a track record of successful HDR supervision and since joining La Trobe University she has had 1 PhD completions and 4 Master’s by research completions. She has examined 8 PhD theses from the University of Queensland, Newcastle University, Edith Cowan University, University of South Australia and University of Otago amongst others. She is currently recruiting research students in the area of entrepreneurship and innovation. She has over 150+ publications in peer reviewed journals, which are are distinctive in the way they combine topics from different areas. Most of these publications have received international recognition for their contribution to the entrepreneurship and innovation field. She is well known for her thought leadership on new and emerging topics such as sport entrepreneurship, sport innovation and COVID-19 entrepreneurship. Her work on these areas includes many highly cited articles. She has published 7 sole authored book research monographs on topics including frugal innovation, and sport startups. She has co-edted more than 20 books on topics including tourism innovation and knowledge spillovers. She is the editor of the book series "Palgrave Studies in Global Entrepreneurship" (Palgrave) and "Innovation and Technology Horizons" (Routledge). Associate Professor Ratten is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, the Journal of Family Business Management and the Global Business and Organizational Excellence journal. She has edited many special journal issues including for Marketing Intelligence & Planning, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Education & Training, Journal of Management & Organization, Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Small Enterprise Research, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, Thunderbird International Business Review, Journal of Enterprising Communities, the International Journal of Management Education, Strategic Change, Journal of Science & Technology Policy, Knowledge Management Research & Practice, Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Management amongst others. She is honoured to be one of the three La Trobe Business School academics who have recently been recognised in's rankings list (30th May 2022). You van view the full list of Australia's top business and management researchers here: Vanessa also made the 2022 #Stanford list of the top 2% of global scientists in terms of research impact


  1. Allen, L. (2001). The Social and Cultural Impacts of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Retrieved from on October 20, 2023.
  2. Aithal, R., Anil, R.K., & Angmo, D. (2023). Rural tourism in India: case studies of resilience during crisis. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, 15(1), 63-73.
  3. Behr, A. (2021). State 15 of play. Tensions and interventions in live music policy. In C. Anderton and S. Pisil (Eds.), Researching Live Music: Gigs, Tours, Concerts and Festivals (pp. 212-224). Routledge.
  4. Beaven, Z., & Laws, C. (2012). Principles and applications in ticketing and reservations management. In I. Yeoman, M. Robertson, J. Ali-Knight, S. Drummond, & U. McMahon-Beattie (Eds.), Festival and Events Management (pp. 183-201). Routledge.
  5. Bouchareb, F., & Fadlaoui, R. (2022). Understanding Racial Issues through the Lens of Muslim American Stand-up Comedy. Retrieved from on October 2, 2023.
  6. Davras, Ö., & Özperçin, İ. (2023). The relationships of motivation, service quality, and behavioural intentions for gastronomy festival: the mediating role of destination image. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, 15(4), 451-464.
  7. Dimitropoulos, P.E., Vrondou, O., & Koronios, K. (2019). Earnings predictability of the Greek hospitality in-dustry during the crisis. In Smart Tourism as a Driver for Culture and Sustainability: Fifth International Conference IACuDiT, Athens 2018 (pp. 647-658). Springer International Publishing.
  8. Falassi, A. (1987). Festival: Definition and morphology. Time out of Time: Essays on the Festival, 1, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque
  9. Frew, E. (2009). Festival image creation: The role of local and interstate newspapers. Tourism Analysis, 14(2), 221-230.
  10. Knox, A. (2014). Human resource management (HRM) in temporary work agencies: Evidence from the hospi-tality industry. The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 25(1), 81-98.
  11. Koronios, K., Kriemadis, A., Dimitropoulos, P., Douvis, I., Papadopoulos, A., & Manousaridou, G. (2019). Emo-tional intelligence of employees in the hospitality sector: Exploring its effects on job satisfaction and performance. In Smart Tourism as a Driver for Culture and Sustainability: Fifth International Conference IACuDiT, Athens 2018 (pp. 515-525). Springer International Publishing.
  12. Koščak, M. (2023). Ethical and responsible tourism: managing sustainability in local tourism destinations. In Ethical and Responsible Tourism: Managing Sustainability. In Koščak, M., & O’Rourke, T. (Eds.), Local Tourism Destinations (pp-201-217). Taylor & Francis.
  13. Law Insider. (2023, September 27). Ticket Sales Definition. Retrieved from on October 20, 2023.
  14. Lobell, K.O. (2018, August 16). A Comprehensive Guide to Comedy Festivals in the U.S. and Around the Globe. Vulture: Devouring Culture. Vox Media Network. Retrieved from on October 2, 2023.
  15. Liu-Lastres, B., Huang, W.J., & Bao, H. (2023). Exploring hospitality workers’ career choices in the wake of COVID-19: Insights from a phenomenological inquiry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 111, 103485.
  16. Liu-Lastres, B., Wen, H., & Huang, W.J. (2023). A reflection on the Great Resignation in the hospitality and tourism industry, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 35(1), 235-249. (2023a, September 27). Background. Retrieved from on May 2, 2023.
  17. MICF. (2023a, September 27). About-US. Retrieved from on October 4, 2023.
  18. MICF. (2023b, September 27). How to Book. Retrieved from on October 2, 2023.
  19. Maughan, C., & Radošević, L. (2016). Are You Having a Laugh, Comedy and Festivals in the 21st Century. Goodfellow Publishers.
  20. Mooney, S.K., Harris, C., & Ryan, I. (2016). Long hospitality careers–a contradiction in terms?. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28(11), 2589-2608.
  21. Morrison, A.M. (2023). Marketing and managing tourism destinations (3rd ed.). Routledge.
  22. Strestha, R.K., & L’Espoir Decosta, P. (2023). Developing dynamic capabilities for community collaboration and tourism product innovation in response to crisis: Nepal and COVID-19, Journal of Sustainable Tour-ism, 31(1), 168-186,
  23. Taylor, R., & Shanka, T. (2002). Attributes for staging successful wine festivals. Event Management, 7(3), 165-175.
  24. The Guardian. (2007, March 16). Five top comedy festivals around the world. Retrieved from on May 1, 2023.
  25. Tomsett, E. (2023). Stand-up Comedy and Contemporary Feminisms: Sexism, Stereotypes and Structural Ine-qualities. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  26. Towers, N.S., & Pratten, J. (2003). Stock control and supplier relationships at the local pub in a market town: A case study investigation into effective demand management. British Food Journal, 105(9), 591-601.
  27. Wright, C.F., Knox, A., & Constantin, A. (2021). Using or abusing? Scrutinising employer demand for tempo-rary sponsored skilled migrants in the Australian hospitality industry. Economic and Industrial Democra-cy, 42(4), 937-959.
  28. Yin, R.K., & Campbell, Donald T. (2014). Case study research and applications: design and methods (6th ed.). SAGE.


Download data is not yet available.