The VRSciT project (2020-1-PT01-KA204-078597) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Exploring the Implications of Virtual Reality Technology in Tourism Marketing: An Integrated Research Framework

Study Field
Environmental Education, Culture and tourism
Summary
The proliferation of the Internet and other technological innovations has transformed the structure of the tourism industry as well as affected how tourism destinations are perceived and consumed. The 3D virtual world provides opportunities for destination marketing organizations to communicate with targeted markets by offering a rich environment for potential visitors to explore tourism destinations. However, as of yet, there is little understanding about how to effectively market tourism destinations to virtual world participants who are technology users as well as potential consumers. The purpose of the present study is to develop a research framework that integrates the technology acceptance model (TAM) and self‐determination theory to understand how tourists use a 3D virtual world. Primary data were obtained for this study through self‐administered Web questionnaires. The data were conducted in a laboratory setting with 186 participants. This study contributes to the empirical TAM literature by applying the model to a 3D virtual tourism site. Additionally, this study provides a research framework to capture the entertainment nature of a 3D virtual world by extending the TAM to incorporate psychological elements of self‐determination theory to understand consumer experience. From the perspective of tourism professionals, this study contributes to an understanding of how best to construct informative and interactive tourist destinations in 3D virtual worlds to attract potential online and real‐world tourists. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Innovative VR tools and techniques
● VR technologies provide various applications to tourism professionals in terms of tourism policy planning, tourism marketing, tourist attractions, entertainment, and heritage tourism site preservation
● Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) has been empirically validated in different contexts such as mobile technology, virtual communities, online gaming, and virtual worlds as well as in the context of information technology and tourism to understand the travel decision-making process
● TAM was proposed to assess an individual’s acceptance of information technology, postulating that perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use determine an individual’s attitude toward using information technology.
VR in education
● Perceived usefulness is defined as “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance”.
● Perceived ease of use is defined as “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would be free of effort”.
● Virtual experience in an immersive 3D virtual world can affect consumer purchase intention.
● The attributes affecting consumers’ beliefs and purchase intentions in the context of e-shopping, suggesting that consumer perceptions of usefulness play a significant role in forming intentions.
● Self-determination theory (SDT) postulates that the satisfaction of psychological needs determines the underlying motivational mechanism that energizes individuals to pursue an activity and thus directs people’s behavior.
● Applying SDT to predict behavioral intentions, suggested that an individual’s behavioral intentions can be predicted in the satisfaction of the three psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
● Immersive virtual environments provide opportunities for individuals to experience the senses of autonomy, competence, and relatedness that subsequently predict behavioral intentions.
● Satisfaction of autonomy, competence, and relatedness contributed to individuals’ experiences of enjoyment, resulting in continued future behavior.
● Perceived usefulness is positively related to the experience of enjoyment, indicating that useful information in 3D tourism sites such as the visual resemblance and overall feel of the physical tourism destination, naturalistic elements, and images of cultural authenticity can enhance the consumer experience of enjoyment.
● 3D tourism site usefulness in planning a trip was a predictor of behavioral intentions, indicating that content elements such as pictures, graphics, local music, storytelling videos, and integrating websites in the 3D virtual tourism destination convey the sense of place, contributing to planning for a future trip to the actual site.
Reference
Huang, Y. Backman, K., et. al. (2015). Exploring the Implications of Virtual Reality Technology in Tourism Marketing: An Integrated Research Framework, International Journal of Tourism Research

The VRSciT Project

The VRSciT project (2020-1-PT01-KA204-078597) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.