Exploring the Implications of Virtual Reality Technology in Tourism Marketing: An Integrated Research Framework
The proliferation of the Internet and other technological innovations has transformed the structure of the tourism industry as well as affected how tourism destinations are perceived and consumed. The 3D virtual world provides opportunities for destination marketing organizations to communicate with targeted markets by offering a rich environment for potential visitors to explore tourism destinations. However, as of yet, there is little understanding about how to effectively market tourism destinations to virtual world participants who are technology users as well as potential consumers. The purpose of the present study is to develop a research framework that integrates the technology acceptance model (TAM) and self-determination theory to understand how tourists use a 3D virtual world. Primary data were obtained for this study through self-administered Web questionnaires. The data were conducted in a laboratory setting with 186 participants. This study contributes to the empirical TAM literature by applying the model to a 3D virtual tourism site. Additionally, this study provides a research framework to capture the entertainment nature of a 3D virtual world by extending the TAM to incorporate psychological elements of self-determination theory to understand consumer experience. From the perspective of tourism professionals, this study contributes to an understanding of how best to construct informative and interactive tourist destinations in 3D virtual worlds to attract potential online and real-world tourists. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.