Purpose: Virtual reality (VR) technology is a potential tool for tourism marketers to maintain the attractiveness of their destinations and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the effectiveness of VR technology in motivating potential tourists' visit intention under lockdown conditions remains unknown. An integrated model based on the experience economy framework and mood management theory was, therefore, used to explain how tourists' VR experiences affect their mood management processes and subsequent behaviors. This research also examined how perceived travel risk influenced the relationship between mood management processes and future decisions.
Design/methodology/approach: This study used a cross-sectional design based on a sample collected from a Chinese survey company, Sojump. The author surveyed 285 respondents who had experienced VR tourism activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research model was tested using partial least squares–structural equation modeling.
Findings: The results demonstrated that the four dimensions of VR experiences differently affected mood management processes, while perceived travel risk differently moderated the influence of mood management processes on visit intention and VR stickiness. This provides insights for tourism marketers to adapt to the current tourism environment and develop recovery strategies.
Originality/value: In response to gaps in the literature, this research examined the effectiveness of VR technology in driving tourists' visit intention during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing insights for tourism marketers to successfully implement VR tourism and plan timely recovery strategies.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Information Systems
- Computer Science Applications
- Experience economy framework
- Mood management theory
- Travel risk
- Visit intention
- VR tourism