Virtual Reality Experience in Tourism Advertising: Roles of Immersion and Advertising Engagement

Paper accepted for presentation at the American Academy of Advertising (AAA) Annual Conference, St. Petersburg, FL, March 24 – 27, 2022

Abstract: Building favorable destination image and evoking positive feelings toward tourism ads are essential to the success of destination marketing in the competitive tourism business environment. The current study investigated the potential of virtual reality (VR) in providing new and innovative avenues for promoting destination image in tourism and testing its impact on advertising engagement that follows the VR experience. Despite the increased use of VR in destination advertising and its advantages over traditional media platforms, its effectiveness and the underlying mechanisms driving advertising engagement remain underexplored. Guided by the proposed conceptual model of immersive virtual tours, the current study investigated the roles of self-location and ad engagement along with several key variables (i.e., enjoyment, destination image change, attitude toward the ad and the brand) using a lab experiment (N = 78). Results indicate that experiencing a VR tour of a destination had a positive impact on ad engagement and that enjoyment of the immersive experience mediated the relationship between self-location and engagement with an ad shown after the virtual experience. The level of immersion moderated the effect of VR experience on ad engagement. Theoretical and managerial implications of VR tourism are discussed.

Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn  Jihoon (Jay) Kim 

Related Research


Getting a little too personal? Positive and negative effects of personalized advertising on online multitaskers

Abstract: Given the increasing number of personalized ads and the prevalence of media multitasking, understanding the impact of online privacy concern on ad outcomes is important. However, the interaction effects between […]

Bartosz Wojdynski
read more
Increasing the Efficacy of Emotional Appeal Ads on Online Video Watching Platforms: The Effects of Goals and Emotional Approach Tendency on Ad-Skipping Behavior

Abstract: Using an experimental tool that tracks the viewers’ real-time ad skipping behavior, the current research tested when and why a highly arousing emotional appeal ad that induces a set of […]

Hye Jin Yoon
read more