Augmented reality tourism as a marketing tool for the authentic

A study conducted by the IFTM team investigates the use of augmented reality for virtual tourism and how it can encourage people to visit the real place

Research Corner | A partnership between Macau Business and the Macau Institute of Tourism Studies (IFTM)

A team of researchers from the Macau Institute of Tourism Studies (IFTM) has published new research with suggestions on using augmented reality as a marketing tool for in-person tours. The work focused on the various dimensions of authenticity, taking as a base scenario a tourist experience in augmented reality, at home.

The researchers pointed out that online wheelchair tourism has recently grown in popularity, due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the link between information technology and tourism “continues to accelerate”, consumer demand for “authentic information technology experiences is further increasing”, the authors said.

The study was carried out by IFTM researchers, Mr. Chris Zhu Zhengan, Dr. Yan Io Man U, Dr. Henrique Fátima Boyol Ngan and Ms. Rachel Luna Peralta. The findings were presented in the academic paper “Understanding Augmented Reality Marketing in World Cultural Heritage Site, the Lens of Authenticity Perspective”. It was published last month in the online version of the Journal of Vacation Marketing.

The research findings were based on an online questionnaire that had 240 respondents, all from mainland China. To be eligible to participate, respondents had to confirm personal use of an augmented reality app featuring Mount Tai in China, but also had to confirm that they had never visited the location in person. The mountain, in mainland China’s Shandong Province, is of historical and cultural significance and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stimulate real tourism

The aim of the study was to identify the relationship between the different dimensions of authenticity in the context of an augmented reality, in-home tourism experience, and how this might impact virtual tourists’ willingness to visit. the place in person.

According to the authors, authenticity in tourism generally falls under three headings. The first, defined as “objective authenticity”, refers to the tourist’s perception of the attributes of a place.

The second, “constructive authenticity”, is the tourist’s own projected conception of the attributes of a place visited. “Thus, constructive authenticity is not necessarily associated with reality, but can come from an interpretation and a construction shared by the stakeholders” of it, emphasizes the IFTM team.

The third heading is “existential authenticity”. This puts “more emphasis on a subjective psychological feeling, which is influenced by factors such as the interactivity of the experiential process”.

The results of the study indicated that respondents’ perceptions related to constructive and existential authenticity ‘positively’ predicted satisfaction with their home tourism experience, and therefore their willingness to visit the actual destination. Perceptions of objective authenticity, on the other hand, had “no significant impact” on respondent satisfaction in the context of an in-home augmented reality tourism experience.

The study also found that respondent satisfaction was higher when participants reported good levels of existential authenticity, compared to constructive authenticity. “Because existential authenticity places more emphasis on a subjective perception of the tourist experience, it is important for destination managers to consider how to improve” the user experience of reality tools increased, said the IFTM team. To achieve this, the researchers suggested using “interesting storytelling” or adding interactive elements.

The authors noted that “given the richness of the information technology tourism experience”, users may not be looking for absolute objectivity when embarking on an augmented reality tourism experience, At home: Instead, people might “be more concerned with how they feel” during activity.

– Researchers

Mr Chris Zhu Zhengan is a doctoral student at the Macao Institute of Tourism Studies (IFTM). He joined the IFTM PhD Program in 2021, after completing the Masters Program in International Hospitality and Tourism Management at City University of Macau. His doctoral research focuses on the use of augmented reality in the context of tourist experiences.

IFTM lecturer Dr Yan Io Man U holds a PhD from the University of South Australia. She began her higher education with a license from IFTM. His research interests focus on tourist experience and behavior in relation to heritage tourism, hospitality and nostalgic tourism. Dr. Io also sits on various academic and industry-related committees.

Dr Henrique Fatima Boyol Ngan is a lecturer at the IFTM, and a specialist in psychology. He holds a Ph.D. in this field from Saint Joseph University of Macau. Prior to joining IFTM, Dr. Boyol Ngan worked on projects related to training and organizational culture in the gaming industry.

IFTM speaker Mrs. Rachel Luna Peralta holds a master’s degree in English from Abra State Institute of Sciences and Technology, Philippines. She holds a second master’s degree, in management, from Divine Word College in Bangued, also in the Philippines. Her academic research interests are related to second language writing, cognitive processes of writing, English language studies, academic journalism, destination image and intangible cultural heritage.

– The paper

Chris Zhu, Man-U Io, Henrique Fátima Boyol Ngan and Rachel Luna Peralta: “Understanding Augmented Reality Marketing in World Cultural Heritage Site, the Lens of Authenticity Perspective”, Journal of Vacation Marketing, published in line, 2022.