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Gamification in Tourism and Hospitality: Theoretical Foundations, Player Typology, and Effectiveness

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Title: Gamification in Tourism and Hospitality: Theoretical Foundations, Player Typology, and Effectiveness
Author: Shen, Ye (Sandy)
Department: School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management
Program: Management
Advisor: Joppe, Marion
Abstract: Gamification has attracted much attention from both industry and academia in the latest ten years. As a relatively new trend, there is a lack of understanding of its mechanism, application, and effectiveness. For instance, no consensus on the definition of either gamification or game mechanics has been reached. Without understanding the mechanism of gamification, businesses may fail to apply it effectively. Additionally, although destinations have actively designed gamified trip applications, research on this topic is still at the early stage. Who wants to take part in a gamified trip and what motivates them to participate in such a trip have remained unknown. What’s more, the effect of gamified information on people’s perception and behavioural intention have not been investigated adequately. Even though several previous studies discussed that gamification encourages customer engagement (Blohm & Leimeister, 2013) and improves perceived destination image (Xu, Buhalis, & Weber, 2017), those studies were theoretical in nature, and only a small number of empirical studies were conducted. Therefore, this thesis investigates and discusses gamification in tourism and hospitality through three aspects: its theoretical foundations, people’s motivations for taking a gamified trip, and the effect of gamified information. The first study (Chapter 2) reviewed and analyzed previous gamification research and proposed a mechanics-dynamics-outcome model. The second study (Chapter 3) took gamified trips as a lens to understand what motivates tourists to participate, reasons for liking or disliking such a trip, and types of gamified trip players. The third study (Chapter 4) used experimental design to compare the differences between gamified, text-based, and Q & A formatted travel information. Overall, this thesis understands the application of gamification in tourism and hospitality through a holistic view, from its theoretical aspect to effectiveness, having both theoretical contributions and practical implications.
Date: 2020-01
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Embargoed Until: 2021-01-17

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