Technology Enhanced Tourist Experiences: A holistic exploration of how tourist experiences can be enhanced by technology

Barbara Neuhofer is a PhD Researcher at the John Kent Institute in Tourism at Bournemouth University. Her research project, supervised by Prof. Dimitrios Buhalis and Prof. Adele Ladkin, has the aim to explore how technologies can enhance the tourist experience.

The notion of consumers increasingly striving for experiences constitutes a prevalent concept, initially shaped by Pine and Gilmore, who developed the prominent notion of the experience economy. The staging of experiences has become crucial for companies as products have become increasingly commodified and competitive advantage is only obtained by providing unique and memorable experiences to the consumer. However, there is evidence that the company-centric idea of staging in the experience economy is gradually being substituted by the principles of experience co-creation, which recognise active consumers in co-creating their experiences conjointly with the company in quest for personal growth.

These latest evolutions in the field of experience show that the significance of experiences in both tourism research and practice is unabated. Despite the high relevance of experience research, which has been manifested in vast literature over the past decades, there is evidence for a prevailing insufficient understanding of the use of technology in the tourist experience. The proliferation of information and communication technologies in tourism has had fundamental impacts by changing the nature of the tourist experience distinctively.

Based on the assumptions of a current missing understanding of the tourist experience in a technology-mediated environment and the need to understand the nature of the technology enhanced experience in order to facilitate the co-creation of experiences between the company and the consumer, a holistic revision of this concept is imperative.

Upon this rationale, the present doctoral research aims to generate an understanding of how tourist experiences can be enhanced by technologies throughout all stages, i.e. pre/during/post stage of the travel process. This study will provide a theoretical contribution to the current understanding of the tourist experience in a technology-mediated context and the novel concept of experience co-creation for the future creation of technology enhanced tourist experiences.

View Barbara’s PhD Research Poster: ENTER 2012_Poster Presentation_Barbara Neuhofer

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