Living the experience before you go… but did it meet expectations? The role of Virtual Reality during hotel bookings

Graeme McLean, Jennifer B Barhorst

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Abstract

Virtual Reality (VR) is considered an important technological development to impact the tourism industry. Hotels are constantly attempting to overcome the challenges they face in the presentation of their facilities in the virtual environment. This research has made one of the first attempts to understand VR's ability to influence tourism consumers' attitudes and behavioural intentions during the pre-purchase phase and post-purchase phase of their purchase journey across three hotel preview styles: namely, (1) VR immersive headsets, (2) 360° VR tour and (3) a static image website. Through a lab-based experiment with 270-participants, Study-1 outlined the positive role of VR on learning about the hotel and visit intentions. Through a questionnaire with 409 actual tourism consumers following a hotel stay, study-2 detailed that VR plays a significant role in managing tourism consumers' expectations through providing an authentic experience and stimulating the development of detailed mental imagery prior to their visit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Early online date14 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • virtual reality (VR)
  • mental imagery
  • authentic experience
  • online hotel bookings
  • immersive VR hotel experience

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