Virtual Reality: An Innovative Sneak Preview for Destinations

6        Conclusion

Lastly, it has been confirmed that VR has a positive influence on tourist’s information search process (Hypothesis 1). Therefore, the information delivered through VR is provided in a convenient and fast way. Additionally, multiple senses are stimulated thanks to the fact that the information is presented in an interactive way. Furthermore, the feeling of presence and finally the learning was enhanced through VR. Equally it was approved that VR has a positive influence on tourist’s decision-making process (Hypothesis 2). Thus, through VR participants experience the atmosphere and attractions beforehand. Subjects got a more detailed destination image as well as they got realistic expectations of the possible visit. All this together transferred them into a better position to decide whether to travel or not and enhanced their actual desire of visiting Dubrovnik in the future. Hence, a virtual reality video is a useful and beneficial marketing tool for destinations in order to attract a wider audience and to satisfy tourists’ demands and expectations, and doing so, to stay competitive in the long-term in the tourism industry.

7        Limitations and Further Research

As of the quantitative nature of this study, limitations in time and in sample size occur. For this reason, the results of this study cannot be generalised to a larger population, only to generation Y defined according to the criteria mention previously. Moreover, in the course of the experiment, some participants were aware that the alternative to the offered brochure could have been VR, and vice versa. The mentioned limitation is related to the fact that subjects could see what the other next to him/her was doing. As the participants of the study were internationals and the questionnaire was offered only in English language, the language barrier could represent another limitation to the study and, in this way, could have created some misunderstandings while answering the questions. VR glasses availability for conducting the study can be listed as an additional limitation. Further bias was introduced both by the individual interviewer and across multiple interviewers. One the one hand, the bias that the interviewer adds simply through the interaction with the participants and on the other hand, each interviewer has his own way to interact with participants.

Additionally, the provided brochure could also represent another limitation as soon as it wasn’t taken from a travel company or from the destination promotional materials, but it was created based on the information from the video. As it was already mentioned before, the same information in the video and in the brochure (e.g. rain) could have been perceived in a different manner. In this sense, it would be appropriate to use a variety of promotional materials for a further research such as, for example, professional brochures, photos or regular promotional videos and compare them with VR videos.

Moreover, a further research should enlarge the sampling size, taking also into account other generations, such as Baby Boomers, generation X and generation Z. Furthermore, it would be important to analyse and compare the differences of the VR’s influence on other parts of the customer buying cycle such as stimulation phase, purchasing phase and after sales phase. In addition, future research could aim to investigate whether there is any variation in perceiving content and if videos with more or less information influence the viewer in the decision-making process.

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