Assessing pre-travel online destination experience values of destination websites: scale development and validation

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Destination websites, provided by destination marketing/management organisations (DMOs), are central environmental drivers of tourist experiences in the pre-travel phase. DMOs increasingly apply experiential marketing on their websites to support positive online destination experiences (ODEs) and attract tourists. Despite the ongoing scientific debate on technology-driven tourist experiences, research into pre-travel ODEs is still nascent and theoretical knowledge on the nature of ODEs is limited. Particularly, an appropriate measurement tool to evaluate the pre-travel experience value of destination websites is missing. In this paper, we propose a reliable, valid, and parsimonious measure for assessing pre-travel ODEs on destination websites, building on two prior studies. In a quasi field experiment, German millennials (n = 1820) evaluated the ODEs of different real destination websites using an online questionnaire. The ODE scale was developed using principal component analysis based on half of the cases; the other half was used to validate the scale via confirmatory composite analysis. In result, the overall ODE is reflected by two interrelated dimensions: hedonic and utilitarian experiences. Websites with a high level of experiential design yield significantly higher ODE values, supporting the construct validity. Results contribute to the theoretical understanding of the technology-driven tourist experience in the anticipatory phase. Moreover, the developed scale yields a methodological knowledge gain and will help destination managers to evaluate, purposefully review and improve their website designs and contents.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Technology and Tourism
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)457-484
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 07.12.2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

    Research areas

  • Destination website, Experiential marketing, Online destination experience, Pre-travel phase, Scale development, Scale validation
  • Management studies
  • Tourism studies