Using outcomes of transformative experiences (TE) for enhancing advertising effectiveness

Transformative tourism has gained foot within the tourism industry in recent years. The tourism sector is at the face of change from an unconscious to a more sustainable industry with greater benefits for local communities. Transformative tourism experiences (TE) could foster societal change if the industry managed to design services that create favourable circumstances for triggering changes in our minds, characters and values.

Measuring TE ad performance in comparison to other ads

Previous research identified research gaps in enticing potential consumers interested in transformation through appropriate marketing materials as well as in measuring ad-evoked emotions in the context of tourism marketing. The quantitative online study aimed to understand how an ad in which outcomes of TE were included would perform in comparison to a simple informative ad and an ad which was designed considering current best practices in marketing.

The pre-exposure state of mind of the respondent was mapped out with a question applying the Pleasure-Arousal-Dominance (PAD) scale at the start of the survey. To study ad performance, the respondents were surveyed for the emotions triggered after viewing each ad, which were applied from the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), as well as their attitude and behavioral intention triggered by the emotions.

A service that fit the criteria of a transformative tourism service in the light of theory was used in the design of all three ads. The data was analysed with non-parametric tests and correlations.

Transformative experience elements in advertising cause a positive response

The findings of the study show that an ad with TE elements performs similarly to an ad with marketing best practices yet much better than an ad with a simple informative description of the service. The marketing best practices ad performed slightly better than the TE ad, although there was no statistically significant difference. The reason for the possible slight difference in ad performance could be the format of the ad used in the study, the survey design or alternatively the novelty of the subject making it foreign to some.

The emotional imprint the TE ad left was statistically different to the best practices ad only in generating interest, inspiration and irritability out of the nine emotions measured which in addition to the former were: excitement, alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and activeness. The emotional response was overall positive, leading to positive attitude and behavioral intention which did not differ from the response generated by the marketing ad.

The behavioural response generated by the TE ad was a willingness to share the ad and comment on it whereas for the marketing ad the outcome was to click the ad to read more and buy the service. However, statistically the differences between the behavioural intention generated by these two ads was not significant.

The full results of the masters thesis project can be found here.

Transformative experience outcomes to strengthen marketing best practices

For designing persuasive ads for the transformative tourism industry, SMEs may combine marketing best practices with highlighting transformative experience outcomes. To make their marketing communications even more effective, it is feasible to use a higher influence format for ads, such as video ads. The results are applicable for testing for finding what’s appropriate for a certain target group and what sort of tone of voice to use.

Finland is precious with its prestigious and clean nature. It is imperative in the industry to be mindful of what kind of an imprint we want to leave on our visitors and evaluate if we can influence them positively. Through thorough service design and marketing, tourism industry could foster change in visitors leading to a more sustainable way of living.