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The emerging smart event experience: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

John Richard Thomas Bustard (Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster University, Coleraine, UK)
Peter Bolan (Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster University, Coleraine, UK)
Adrian Devine (Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster University, Coleraine, UK)
Karise Hutchinson (Ulster University Business School, Ulster University, Coleraine, UK)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 4 February 2019

2459

Abstract

Purpose

The use of “special events” as an attractor for destinations in the smart tourism paradigm has been suggested as one element of an effective destination strategy. This study aims to create new understandings of this potentiality by exploring an event from a participant perspective in smart tourism contexts by creating a model integrating factors impacting the smart event experience.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted five online focus groups by using Facebook secret groups to engage spectators of an international sports event. Discussions focussed on the digital event experience with particular reference to the event app. A subsequent interpretative phenomenological analysis facilitated the examination of how people make sense of this digital phenomenon and the impact on the overall event experience.

Findings

The findings demonstrate an increasing demand for real-time event integrative information, with more immersive and augmented experiences often sought by users. This has significant implications for the management of the digital event experience for all event stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited in its analysis of the smart event experience because of the use of a purposive sample from the International NW200 Event in Northern Ireland, which may limit the generalisability of research findings.

Originality/value

The study therefore, meets a critical gap in existent literature by providing the first event experience model in a smart tourism context and presenting the interlocking elements through the 4P’s (people, processes, personalisation and places) and 7R’s (rituals, realms, realities, renewal, review, relational and resourcing) of digital event experience.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the 2016 Innovation Fund of the International Federation for IT in Travel and Tourism (IFITT).

Citation

Bustard, J.R.T., Bolan, P., Devine, A. and Hutchinson, K. (2019), "The emerging smart event experience: an interpretative phenomenological analysis", Tourism Review, Vol. 74 No. 1, pp. 116-128. https://doi.org/10.1108/TR-10-2017-0156

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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