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Tourism Experimentation Platform (TEX)

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The tourism market is rapidly developing, with over a billion international tourist arrivals and more than $1 trillion in international tourism exports per year. Sustainable practices and innovations are actively encouraged by governments and international organizations and becoming increasingly important to tourists. Consequently, tourism destinations and providers are implementing sustainable practices and displaying sustainable labels to communicate their efforts to tourists. However, it is often unclear whether these efforts truly impact tourists’ intentions to visit. Only experiments make it possible to explore the cause-and-effect relationships between various sustainable practices and visitors’ attitudes and behavioral intentions by manipulating the presence of different factors and controlling for other variables. However, tourism and hospitality providers, destination management organizations, and other tourism stakeholders often lack the experience, sample panels, tools, methodology, research instruments, and other resources needed to conduct experiments.

The Tourism Experimentation Platform (TEX) is a digital platform developed to facilitate internet-based evaluations of the effects of sustainable and marketing practices on visitors’ attitudes and behavioral intentions before implementing any changes in real life using experimental design. Participants can access virtual tourism scenarios through mobile and web-based interfaces, using smartphones, personal computers, VR headsets, and other extended-reality technologies. The host interface allows for conducting cross-sectional and longitudinal research, including online surveys, experiments, randomized controlled trials, data collection from smartphones, and the introduction of various experimental event scenarios, sustainable practices, and interventions. The TEX platform offers opportunities to design and utilize different tourism scenarios (including text descriptions, pictures, videos, websites, and VR) and collect data from questionnaires, pictorial scales, wearable sensors, and smartphone applications.

The project proposes a novel approach to developing effective tourism innovations and sustainable practices based on research findings and emerging methodologies. The project will provide an opportunity for any of more than 150,000 tourist destinations and millions of tourism businesses to virtually pre-test sustainable, marketing, and other practices using experimental design before implementing any changes in real life. The TEX platform offers the industry an accessible and cost-effective solution to conduct experiments, even without experience in research design, methodology, sampling techniques, data analysis, etc. The tourism experimental scenarios, research instruments, and methodology are based on many years of tourism and hospitality research. In addition to tourist destinations, the platform can also be used by hotels, restaurants, OTAs, and other practitioners interested in exploring the effects of sustainable and innovative practices on customers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions.