Immersive virtual reality in destination marketing : evidence from lab and field experiments
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- Master Thesis 
Although the concept of virtual reality (VR) has been studied and used for many years, recent technological development has led to the commercial availability of immersive VR, specifically head-mounted displays. Little research has been conducted on the potential for immersive VR to influence consumer behavior. The aim of this thesis is to give insight into how immersive VR can be utilized in destination marketing, through investigating its effect on consumer outcomes directly, as well as the underlying processing mechanisms. Through two studies, one lab experiment and one field experiment, we find that immersive VR technology (vs. 2D pictures) does not have a significant total effect on the consumer outcome variables (destination attitude, behavioral intentions and purchasing decision). However, mediation analyses show that there are indirect effects through telepresence, enjoyment, mental imagery, predicted emotions, and predicted experiences, and that perceived picture quality acts as a moderator of some of the relationships. This suggests that immersive VR content, when developed specifically to stimulate the factors we find to be important, and used with high-quality equipment, can have a strong impact on destination attitude, behavioral intentions, and ultimately actual purchase.