Lee, Woojin; Gretzel, Ulrike; and Law, Rob, 2010, Quasi-trial experiences through sensory information on destination websites, Journal of Travel Research, 49(3), 310-322.
Tourism Web sites have unique interactive and multimedia qualities with the potential to create experiences similar to product trial. The purpose of the study is to investigate whether destination Web sites with sounds and sensory descriptions can have a positive impact on consumers mental imagery processing, which in turn should enhance quasi-trial experiences. A Web-based experiment is conducted for a fictitious island destination Web site. Empirical results show that sensory descriptions, but not sound, have a positive influence on the extent to which participants experience mental imagery and that the experience of extensive mental imagery leads to greater feelings of virtual presence and, as a result, to stronger attitudes about the destination. Implications for destination Web site design and future research are discussed.