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Conceptualising tourist experiences with new attractions: the case of escape rooms

Tomaz Kolar (Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to theoretically and empirically explore tourist experiences with the niche-like, yet global phenomenon of escape room attractions.


An exploratory empirical study of visitors’ experiences with selected top-rated escape rooms in the USA and Europe was carried out by means of netnographic research and automated content analysis.


The results show that this attraction provides new, peak, unique and fun experiences through the challenging activities and social component of the game play. The findings provide an insight into both the authenticity of experiences with novel attractions and the group aspects of fun and flow concepts.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are restricted to online reviews on the TripAdvisor website and are possibly biased because of the use of a non-random sample.

Practical implications

Theoretical implications are discussed and explicated as future research questions. They are relevant for the conceptual development, research and management of playful experiences within urban and special interest tourism. Societal implications are also addressed.


This paper is a preliminary in-depth examination of the escape room phenomenon from the customer experience standpoint. It is of relevance for the conceptualisation and improvement of tourist experiences with new and fun attractions.



Kolar, T. (2017), "Conceptualising tourist experiences with new attractions: the case of escape rooms", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 1322-1339.



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