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Emotions as Core Building Blocks of an Experience

Bastiaansen, Marcel and Lub, Xander and Mitas, Ondrej and Jung, Timothy and Passos Acenção, Mário and Han, Han and Moilanen, Teemu and Smit, Bert and Strijbosch, Wim (2019) Emotions as Core Building Blocks of an Experience. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 31 (2). pp. 651-668. ISSN 0959-6119


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Purpose This paper aims to stimulate the discussion in the fields of hospitality, tourism and leisure on what exactly constitutes “an experience” and how to measure it; the authors unpack the experience construct into its core constituent elements, namely, emotions. Design/methodology/approach The paper reviews insights from psychology and cognitive neuroscience that define experiences as a fine-grained temporal succession of emotions that occur during an experiential episode. Limitations of current methods for measuring experiences are discussed, after which biometric and neuroscientific methods are reviewed that are optimally geared toward measuring emotions, as they occur during an experience with fine temporal detail. Findings An overview is presented of the available studies within the fields of hospitality, tourism and leisure that use these methodologies. These studies show that using these methodologies provides a fruitful methodological approach to measuring experiences in real time. Practical implications Companies are constantly seeking to create memorable experiences for their customers. The proposed research methodologies allow companies to get a more fine-grained image of what impacts customers over the course of their experience and to actively integrate the use of emotions into creating experiences, as emotions are key to making them memorable. Originality/value The paper sketches the contours of a rapidly emerging framework that unpacks memorable experiences into their constituent element – emotions. It is proposed that this will contribute to a deeper understanding of how consumers experience offerings in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industry.

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