Historic Hotel as Experiencescapes

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This thesis aims to address the lack of scholarly attention with regard to the experiential nature of historic hotels by establishing how tourists co-create authentic travel experiences through their stay in this type of accommodation units. In-depth interviews were conducted with ten Croatian nationals of different age, educational and professional backgrounds which allowed for a thorough exploration of their personal opinions, beliefs, travel motives and preferences. Furthermore, this qualitative research technique provided an insight into how tourists’ different personal characteristics influence the evaluation of their travel experiences in terms of authenticity. A holistic overview of the co-creation process of authentic experience would not be possible without taking into account the hotel management’s perspective. Considering the time limitations of this study, their ‘performance’ of the hotel was studied through the content analysis of hotels’ official websites in order to understand which role historic hotels play in the co-creation of their guests’ authentic travel experiences. The findings of this study revealed that this co-creation process in great part depends on the tourists themselves, with hotel’s role increasing in importance relatively to its ability to capture its guests’ attention. In other words, the more actively and intensely tourists were engaged with the hotel setting, the more value their stay in a historic hotel added to the authenticity of their experience. It is important to note that their individual personal backgrounds largely influenced what they noticed during their hotel stay and how they interpreted it. This knowledge is of great value to the existing body of literature on tourists’ experiences and their views on authenticity, especially because it entails perspectives of non-Western travelers which have been insufficiently researched. Moreover, it will benefit tourism practitioners in designing better quality heritage management strategies.
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