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

Jihoon Kim (Grady PhD alum), Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, and Jooyoung Kim. “Virtual Reality Experience in Tourism Advertising: Roles of Immersion and Advertising Engagement.” Presented 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

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

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.

Using Immersive Virtual Reality to Improve the Beliefs and Intentions of Influenza Vaccine Avoidant 18-to-49-Year-Olds: Considerations, Effects, and Lessons Learned.

Abstract: Only one-third of adults 18 to 49 years old in the United States receive a recommended annual influenza vaccination. This study examined whether supplementing vaccine information statements (VIS) with an immersive virtual reality (VR), short video or electronic pamphlet story designed to convey the community immunity benefits of influenza vaccination would improve influenza vaccine avoidant participants’ influenza-related perceptions as well as their influenza vaccination-related beliefs, confidence and intentions.  Method: A one-way between-subjects experimental design compared the effects of adding a supplemental education experience prior to VIS exposure with flu vaccine avoidant 18-to-49-year-olds. The 171 participants recruited from the community were randomly assigned to one of three modality treatment conditions [VR, video, or e-pamphlet (i.e., story board presented via electronic tablet)] or a VIS-only control condition.   Results: Compared to the modalities, the VR intervention created a stronger perception of presence (i.e., feeling of “being there” in the story), which, in turn, increased participants’ concern about transmitting influenza to others and raised vaccination intention. Increased concern about transmitting influenza to others was associated with positive effects on influenza vaccination-related beliefs, including confidence that one’s flu vaccination would protect others. Neither the e-pamphlet nor the video intervention were able to elicit a sense of presence nor were they able to improve the impact of the VIS on the outcome measures.   Conclusions: Immersive VR has much potential to increase understanding of key immunization concepts, such as community immunity, through creative executions that increase a sense of presence. Given the need to increase influenza vaccination uptake among 18-to-49-year-olds, and the projected growth in VR accessibility and use, additional applications and assessments related to vaccination communication and education are needed and warranted. By increasing the ability to convey key vaccine and immunization concepts, immersive VR could help address vaccination hesitancy and acceptance challenges.

Book Chapter: Designing for persuasion through embodied experiences in immersive virtual environments

Abstract: Embodied experiences in virtual reality (VR) involves the reproduction of sufficiently realistic sensory information so that users are able to see, hear, and feel experiences as if they are going through them at the moment. A growing body of literature evinces that the effects of these virtual experiences carry over into the physical world to impact attitudes and behaviors in the physical world. Underlying mechanisms of embodied experiences that produce these outcomes are discussed in the context of media affordances, or interactions between novel attributes of VR and user perceptions of them. Design implications to maximize persuasive effects are examined and illustrated with case studies. Finally, the limitations of embodied experiences are considered using the efficiency framework to determine tasks that are most appropriate for applying embodied experiences in VR.

Is desirability of the trait a boundary condition of the Proteus effect? A pilot study.

Abstract: Although previous research has shown that individuals take on aspects of the avatars they embody in virtual environments, studies have not yet tested whether this phenomenon, known as the Proteus Effect, extends to traits that are undesirable to have, such as narcissism. One hundred thirty-three female participants completed a shopping simulation in virtual reality. In this simulation, half embodied an avatar of Kim Kardashian, a celebrity known for her narcissistic behavior and materialistic purchases, while the other half embodied a generic female avatar of similar appearance. Participants then chose between luxury and non-luxury brands for a variety of objects. Results indicated thatparticipants did not take on the luxury purchase behaviors of Kim Kardashian, and in fact showed lower narcissism scores after embodying her than those embodying a generic avatar. These results suggest a self-serving component to the Proteus Effect, in that individuals may only take on desired aspects of the avatars they embody, and distance themselves from undesired aspects.