A Conceptualization of the Senses, Emotions, and Memories in Memorable Tourism Experiences

A Conceptualization of the Senses, Emotions, and Memories in Memorable Tourism Experiences

Rui Mendonça Pedro, Julio Mendes, Nelson de Matos, Mário Passos Ascenção
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3156-3.ch010
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This chapter explores a conceptualization of the elements that create a memorable tourism experience – senses, emotions, and memories. A comprehensive and coherent theoretical model is established to explain the complexities involved in the tourism experience creation (tourism experience relational model) and in the memorable tourism experience (conceptual model). The data suggest that, first, the senses developed an important role in the experiential stimuli perception; second, the emotions are fundamental to these experiential stimuli understanding and meaning creation, and third, memory is essential in the codification and storage process and anticipation of meaningful information to future experiences. The conceptual model is based on the five senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch), three positive emotions (joy, love, and positive surprise), and two memorable elements (recollection and vividness). Future research opportunities in the memorable tourism experience are explored, such as the relation between the sense, emotions, and memories.
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In the current global economic context, tourism experiences represent a key value proposal for the tourism sector and specifically for tourists, because they wish to engage in unique experiences (Mendes, Guerreiro, & Matos, 2016). Touristic companies and organizations compete to offer the richest possible experience to appeal to tourists’ wishes and desires (Boswijk, Thijssen, & Peelen, 2006; Pine & Gilmore, 1998; Schmitt, 1999). Ayazlar and Arslan (2017) and Stasiak (2013) consider that the tourism industry is one of the areas of excellence in presenting and staging experience according to a commercial structure that is demanding in terms of services and products specificity, as well as intangible and seasonal. The tourism experience is, however, a complex, personal and memorable construct (Pine & Gilmore, 1998; Zhang, Wu, & Buhalis, 2018).

The memorable tourism experience (MTE) allows tourists to revive, remember and revisit the experiential moment through recollection processes that will last forever or continue for a long period. MTE are considered the ultimate goal that tourists want to achieve during their holidays (Tung, Lin, Zhang, & Zhao, 2017), because they are recognized by tourists as satisfactory, enjoyable and pleasurable moments (Chen & Rahman, 2018; Zhang et al., 2017). MTE also contribute to increasing the tourists’ intention to revisit, remember and recommend a destination (Kim, 2018).

Several articles have shown the importance of the senses in the tourism experience (Agapito, Mendes, Valle, & Almeida, 2014; Goggin et al., 2017; Lee, Heere, & Chung, 2013; Meacci & Liberatore, 2015), while others have studied the significance of the emotions (Correia, Oliveira, & Pereira, 2017; Hosany, Prayag, Deesilatham, Cauševic, & Odeh, 2015; Prayag, Hosany, Muskat, & Del Chiappa, 2017; Shoval, Schvimer, & Tamir, 2018) and some articles have considered the influence of memories (Ali, Hussain, & Ragavan, 2014; Kastenholz, Carneiro, Marques, & Loureiro, 2017; Pezzi & Vianna, 2015; Quadri-Felitti & Fiore, 2013). The relationship between the senses, emotions and memories is, however, a theme on which there has been a lack of attention (Dias, Correia, & Cascais, 2017).

This chapter therefore investigates the role of senses, emotions and memories in the MTE. The objectives of this chapter are fivefold: first, to enhance and identify the state of the art regarding the senses, emotions and memories in the tourism context; second, to clarify the importance of the senses, emotions and memories in the tourism scenario; third, to develop a conceptual framework of the senses, emotions and memories in the memorable tourism experience; fourth, to analyse future research opportunities in this area; and fifth, to clarify the relationship between the senses, emotions and memories in MTE creation.

This chapter is divided into three main sections. The first section introduces the theme and the relevant contributions and articles. In the second section, the background, the authors provide a brief review of the experience paradigm (i.e. dimensions, models and definitions), the tourism experience approach and tourism experience relational model are presented. In the same section, the role of senses, the influence of emotions, the effects of memories in the MTE are considered. the researchers also present the conceptual frameworks to represent the relationship between the senses, emotions and memories in creating an MTE. The paper closes with a conclusion that focuses on the aims of the study.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sensorial Memory: Know as bodily memory too, is a memory information from the sensorial stimulus inputs information and is held in mind during 0.2 to 2 seconds.

Endocrinal Response: Is a chemical response at internal or endocrinal level caused by hormones released by glands directly into the circulatory system that fostering visceral changes.

Memorable Tourism Experience (MTE): Is a tourism experience remembered and recalled after the event has occurred.

Plasticity: Is the ability of the humans to change continually throughout is life as a result of experiences and is the level of individual’s adaptability of the environment changes. These changes occur at the brain level (neuroplasticity), emotional, cognition, social, cultural, etc.

Long-Term Memory: Information is held in mind for a long period of time, between days, months or all life. The long-term memory is an outcome of the information resulting from short-term memory, plus a strong emotional connection, and a repetition process (or recall process).

Arousal: Comprehends the autonomic nervous system activation, is the level of mental alertness and physical activity and ranges from sleep through intermediate states of drowsiness and then alertness to frenzied excitement at the opposite extreme (e.g. sleep, inactivity, boredom, and relaxation at the lower end versus wakefulness, bodily tension, strenuous exercise, and concentration at the higher end).

Sensation: Is the physical process during which sensory systems respond to a stimulus and provide sensorial data for stimulus perception. The sensation consists in five stages, i.e.: signal recognition, stimulus collection, transduction, transmission via afferent, central processing (brain), transmission via efferent and response/action (biochemical response and motor action).

Tourism Experience Relational Model: Is a model that allows to relate all those involved in the tourist experience establishment, such as: the experience dimensions, experience stages and actions, touchpoints, antecedents and outcomes to defining and framing the tourist experience in a holistic and comprehensive state.

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