Journal of Tourism & Hospitality

Journal of Tourism & Hospitality
Open Access

ISSN: 2167-0269

+44 1625708989


Emotional Value in Memorable Guest Experiences: Insights from Dining, Lodging, Events and Attractions

Lori J. Sipe

A major implication of Pine and Gilmore’s seminal work is that experiences represent a higher level of customer value than services because they are memorable and rich in sensations. Inspiring emotional connections with customers provides enormous opportunity to create value in organizations competing in the memories business. However, defining the specific emotional motivators for a particular industry segment or company presents research challenges, as there is no standard lexicon of emotions. A fuller understanding of specific motivators of emotional value is needed. This study explored guest perceptions of value and emotions in four segments of a hospitality and tourism marketplace. The research employed an exploratory sequential mixed methods approach. In the first phase, participants in an executive education program wrote stories about their own memorable experiences. 135 stories were coded for emotional value. A list of 40 codes were synthesized into a list of 25 emotion adjectives. In the second phase, onsite guest surveys were conducted at restaurants, resorts, events, and attractions to examine value propositions and emotions. Findings from a total of 434 surveys revealed significant differences in value expectations and emotion frequencies across the four types of guest experiences. Dining experiences were characterized by feelings of togetherness and connection. Lodging drew greater emotions connected to relaxation and being cared for. What stood out from the event data was that uniqueness showed up in the list of top ten emotions for the first time. It was also the only sub-segment of experiences that included stimulated and educated in its high frequency emotions. In the case of attractions, some 66% desired emotional value from their experience rather than functional or economic value. Adventure and surprises were considered important emotional motivators in the attractions industry