Experiential marketing as a tool to enhance Tourists’ pre-travel online destination experiences? A web-based experiment

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  • Anne Köchling

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are increasingly using experiential marketing on their websites to generate positive pre-travel online destination experiences (ODEs). However, little is known about the ODE construct and the effects of applying experiential marketing on destination websites on ODEs. A scale was developed and applied in a web-based experiment to measure ODEs and to enhance the understanding of the dimensionality of this construct. The travel inspiration phase was simulated and the ODEs of three experimental groups exposed to different websites of the destination Reunion Island were compared. The experiment was conducted with a representative sample of German internet users. Findings indicate that when surfing on a destination website in the inspiration phase, the users’ ODE is holistic and cannot be differentiated into theoretically relevant dimensions (e.g. sensory or affective). Moreover, the application of experiential marketing had a statistically significant, small effect on ODEs when adjusted for aspects of personal relevance. Yet, ODE differences between high and medium levels of experiential marketing were negligible. Accordingly, DMOs should realize that experiential marketing enhances ODEs, but beyond a certain level, additional complex multi-media elements do not necessarily further increase the experiential effect. For the important assessment of experiential user reactions, the developed ODE scale provides a first approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100669
JournalJournal of Destination Marketing and Management
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

    Research areas

  • Destination website, Experiential marketing, Online destination experience, Pre-travel phase, Travel inspiration, Web-based experiment
  • Tourism studies