DiGMY logo

Centre for Digital Transformation in the Visitor Economy

We are dedicated to researching, endorsing, and advocating the power of information technology and digital media in the visitor economy.

Research aims

DiGMY logo

In collaboration with leading academic, business, public, and third sector partners across a broad spectrum of disciplines, we provide rigorous and critical scientific foundation to deliver value to the visitor economy of tomorrow.

We focus on three core themes:

  1. The digital transformation in tourism, hospitality, and events; including new media and consumer behaviour, new business models and disruptive innovation, transformation in business operations and performance
  2. Smart systems in tourism, hospitality, and events; including artificial intelligence and robotics, sensors and internet-of-things
  3. Data science and innovative methodologies in tourism, hospitality, and events; including biometric research, data analytics and pattern recognition in big data.

Research projects

Current projects



    Within the Healthy Aging and Future Transport themes, the Ready2Drive project aims at addressing the attitudes of individuals aged 60+ about driver training needs. This Proof-of-Concept HEIF Strategic Fund project will develop, test and evaluate relevant scenarios through a video survey distributed in the UK. Multidisciplinary expertise from the Department of Tourism and Transport, the Digital Lab, DIGMY, the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and Nervtech working on simulation algorithms will provide input for this project. Collaborators include WISE-ACT experts in Europe and at the University of Wollongong in Australia.


    • Funder: HEIF Strategic Fund
    • Amount: £97k

    Start date 


    End date





      Do you ever wonder how much water you use in a shower? Some say a power shower can use as almost as much water as a bath!

      At a time where energy efficiency and sustainability have never been more important in hospitality and tourism, this project, the research for which formed part of Dr Pablo Pereira-Doel's PhD, explores whether persuasive communication encourages hotel guests to behave more responsibly during their stay by reducing their shower usage.

      Through a partnership with Aguardio ApS, the University of Surrey installed 276 smart water devices in 7 tourism accommodations in Denmark, Spain, UK and US, to develop three randomised covert field experiments to test the effectiveness of the device alongside different persuasive messages.

      The 'Aguardio' pilot technology consisted of a sensor -- able to unobtrusively detect shower use and measuring movement, sound, humidity and temperature -- and a timer display that is visible to the guest. Covert experiments took place in different hotel and hostel locations over a twelve-month period in 2019-2020. 

      IAA funding is now helping to test market acceptance of the product, with the intention that the device creates lasting impact on the hospitality sector. Tests showed that up to 13 litres of water per shower could be saved which translates as 60-90 euros saving per room per year!



      Showering smartly website 

      Further project information 

      Start date 

      December 2020

      End date

      May 2021



      Caroline Scarles and Gang Li and Dr Husna Zainal-Abidin have been awarded an ESRC IAA grant in partnership with Smartify to engage with organisations in the arts and heritage sector to increase knowledge transfer of the benefits of adopting technology-based solutions for visitor engagement in arts and heritage. The project will offer organisations hands-on experience of Smartify, support the development of virtual tours, and facilitate increased reach to new and existing audiences. The timeliness of the project is important as during COVID-19 galleries and museums have faced forced closures of physical sites, decimating visitor numbers and significantly impacting organisational revenue streams. This research aims to provide augmented reality solutions that enable organisations to deliver online, virtual tours to allow visitors’ continued exploration of exhibits and collections while on-site visits remain restricted, whilst also opening opportunities for developing new ways of engaging visitors beyond traditional means of physical visitation in a post-covid climate.

      Project team

      • David Frohlich
      • Caroline Scarles
      • Sporea, R.
      • Revill, G.
      • Bober, M.
      • Yuan, H.

      Project funding: £203k.

      Funder: EPSRC 


      We are involved in augmented reality projects in arts and heritage attractions with partners such as Hampton Court PalaceVisit Surrey and Watts Gallery. The group also involved in multi-institutional projects that include investigating popular culture and retailing, a project with the Swedish Institute for Innovative Retailing, and a project on social media usage in the Scandinavian mountain regions funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Our work also looks at marketing and consumer behaviour. We are co-founders of the Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre.


      Additional team members

      The project involves a consortium of three universities: University of Kent (lead), University of Surrey, and University of Warwick. Project partners include:



      The PriVELT project is a response to a call on trust, identity, privacy, and security in the digital economy 2.0, led by Prof Shujun Li from the University of Kent.

      The aim of PriVELT is to formulate a holistic socio-technical framework of travellers' privacy-related behaviour, in order to develop an innovative user-centric and privacy-aware digital platform for personal data management that will benefit both travellers and other stakeholders (e.g. travel service providers, government, and relevant industries) in delivering seamless, personalised end-to-end travel experiences.

      Past research projects


      Additional team members

      The project team is comprised of members from the University of Surrey and the Open University. Non-academic partners include:



      The next generation paper project is a response to a call on content creation and consumption in the digital economy. The project will develop a new form of interactive paper with hyperlinks to the web, making it easier for customers to move between sources in the reading process. It will assist in travel and tourism technology where people already read a combination of printed and digital information, by using travel brochures, guide books and leaflets alongside smartphone apps, e-books and TV programmes.


      Chen, F., Naylor, M., Li, Y., Dai, S., & Ju, P. (2021). Festival or Sport? Chinese Motivations to a Modern Urban Hiking Event. SAGE Open, 11(1), 2158244020986155.

      Chen, Y., Tussyadiah, I. (2021). Service Failure in Peer-to-Peer Accommodation. Annals of Tourism Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2021.103156 

      Ling, E.C., Tussyadiah, I., Tuomi, A., Stienmetz, J., Ioannou, A. (2021). Factors Influencing Users' Adoption and Use of Conversational Agents: A Systematic Review. Psychology & Marketinghttps://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21491

      Sharma, A., Shin, H. S., Santa-María, M. J., & Nicolau, J. L. (2021). Hotels’ COVID-19 Innovation and Performance. Annals of Tourism Research. 103180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2021.103180

      Tuomi, A., Tussyadiah, I., Hanna, P. (2021). Spicing Up Hospitality Service Encounters: The Case of Pepper™. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Managementhttps://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-07-2020-0739

      Tuomi A., Tussyadiah I., Ashton M. (2021) Covid-19 and Instagram: Digital Service Innovation in Top Restaurants. In: Wörndl W., Koo C., Stienmetz J.L. (eds) Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2021. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-65785-7_45 

      Berridge, G. (2020) Chapter 21 Designing Event Experiences in Page, Stephen J., and Joanne Connell, eds. The Routledge handbook of events. 2nd ed. Routledge, 2020. https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Events/Page-Connell/p/book/9780367236489

      Benítez-Aurioles, B., Tussyadiah, I. (2020). What Airbnb does to the housing market. Annals of Tourism Research. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2020.103108

      Choi, A., Berridge, G. and Kim, C., 2020. The Urban Museum as a Creative Tourism Attraction: London Museum Lates Visitor Motivation. Sustainability, 12(22), p.9382.


      Ioannou, A., Tussyadiah, I., Miller, G. (2020). That's private! Understanding travelers' privacy concerns and online data disclosure. Journal of Travel Research. DOI: 10.1177/0047287520951642

      Ioannou, A., Tussyadiah, I., Lu, Y. (2020). Privacy concerns and disclosure of biometric and behavioral data for travel. International Journal of Information Management, 54, 102122. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2020.102122

      Li, H., Liu, H., Zhang, Z. (2020). Online persuasion of review emotional intensity: A text mining analysis of restaurant reviews. International Journal of Hospitality Management (Accepted).

      Loureiro, S., Guerreiro, J., Tussyadiah, I. (2020). Artificial Intelligence in Business: State of the Art and Future Research Agenda. Journal of Business Research. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.11.001

      Park, S., & Stangl, B. (2020). Augmented reality experiences and sensation seeking. Tourism Management77, 104023.

      Scarles, C., Treharne, H., Casey, M., & Zainal Abidin, H. (2020). Micro-mobilities in curated spaces: agency, autonomy and dwelling in visitor experiences of augmented reality in arts and heritage. Mobilities, 15(6), 776-791, DOI: 10.1080/17450101.2020.1816439

      Shin, H. S., & Kang, J. H. (2020). Reducing perceived health risk to attract hotel customers in the COVID-19 pandemic era: Focused on technology innovation for social distancing and cleanliness. International Journal of Hospitality Management91, 102664. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2020.102664

      Stangl, B., Ukpabi, D. C., & Park, S. (2020). Augmented Reality Applications: The Impact of Usability and Emotional Perceptions on Tourists’ App Experiences. In Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2020 (pp. 181-191). Springer, Cham.

      Stangl, B., Prayag, G., & Polster, L. (2020). Segmenting visitors’ motivation, price perceptions, willingness to pay and price sensitivity in a collaborative destination marketing effort. Current Issues in Tourism, 23(21), 2666-2682.

      Stienmetz, J., Liu, A., Tussyadiah, I. (2020).  Impact of perceived peer-to-peer accommodation development on community residents’ well-being. Current Issues in Tourism. DOI: 10.1080/13683500.2020.1797644

      Tuomi, A., Tussyadiah, I.P. (2020). Building the sociomateriality of food service. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 89, 102553. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2020.102553

      Tuomi, A., Tussyadiah, I.P., Stienmetz, J. (2020). Applications and implications of service robots in hospitality. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1938965520923961

      Tuomi, A., Tussyadiah, I., Ling, E.C., Miller, G., Lee, G. (2020). x=(tourism work) y=(sdg8) while y=true: automate(x). Annals of Tourism Research, 84, 102978. DOI: 10.1016/j.annals.2020.102978  

      Tussyadiah, I. (2020). A review of research into automation in tourism: Launching the Annals of Tourism Research Curated Collection on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 81. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2020.102883

      Tussyadiah, I.P., Zach, F.J., Wang, J. (2020). Do travelers trust intelligent service robots? Annals of Tourism Research, 81. DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2020.102886

      Xu, S., Martinez, L. R., & Smith, N. (2020). The effects of attractiveness, gender and self-esteem in service jobs. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32, 249-266.

      Xu, S., Stienmetz, J., & Ashton, M. (Accepted). How will robots redefine leadership in hotel management? A Delphi approach. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality  Management. Featured in SurreyNewsScienceDailyHospitality&CateringNews,MetroGuildford DragonAzoRoboticsNewsWiseGadgetNews8Plus.

      Wu, S., Li, Y., Wood, E., Senaux, B. & Dai, G. (2020) Liminality and festivals—Insights from the East. Annals of Tourism Research, 80, 102810.

      Yu, Y., Xu, S., Li, G, & Kong, H. (Accepted). Systematic review of research on abusive supervision in hospitality. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

      Zou, S., Tan K. P. S., Liu, H. & Li, X. (2020). Mobile versus PC: Does device type affect online survey response quality in tourism research? Current Issues of Tourism(Accepted).

      Abidin, H.Z., Scarles, C. & Lundberg, C. (2019). Digital Collaboration: A Solution for Destinations, e-Review of Tourism Research.

      Corrigan-Kavanagh, E., Scarles, C., Frohlich, D., Revill, G., Beynon, M., Van Duppen, J. (2019). Explorations on the future of the book from the Next Generation Paper Project. Publishing History.

      Corrigan-Kavanagh, E., Scarles, C., Revill, G. (2019). Augmenting Travel Guides for Enriching Travel Experiences. e-Review of Tourism Research. 17, 344-348, Texas A&M Agrilife.

      Frohlich, D., Corrigan-Kavanagh, E., Bober, M., Yuan, H., Sporea, R., Le Borgne, D., Scarles, C., Revill, G., van Duppen, J., Brown, A.W. & Beynon, M. (2019). The Cornwall a-book: An Augmented Travel Guide Using Next Generation Paper, Journal of Electronic Publishing, Vol.22(1), online:http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/3336451.0022.101.

      Kastner, M., Stangl, B., & Schmidinger, G. (2019). Combining Data Sources and Capitalizing on Collaborations With Industry Partners to Investigate the Appropriateness of “Pay What You Want” for Heterogeneous Customer Groups. SAGE Publications Ltd.

      Lund, F., Scarles, C. & Cohen, S. (2019). The brand value continuum: Countering co-destruction of destination branding in social media through storytelling. ,Journal of Travel Research. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0047287519887234.

      Park, S., Tussyadiah, I. (2019). How guests develop trust in hosts: An investigation of trust formation in P2P accommodation. Journal of Travel Research.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287519884654.

      Siegel, L., Tussyadiah, I., Scarles, C. (2019). Does Social Media Help or Hurt Destinations? A Qualitative Case Study. e-Review of Tourism Research.

      Stangl, B., Prayag, G., & Polster, L. (2019). Segmenting visitors’ motivation, price perceptions, willingness to pay and price sensitivity in a collaborative destination marketing effort. Current Issues in Tourism, 1-17.

      Sun, H., Wu, S., Li, Y. & Dai, G. (2019). Tourist-to-tourist interaction at festivals: A grounded theory approach. Sustainability, 11(15), 4030. doi:10.3390/su11154030

      Tussyadiah, I., Miller, G. (2019). Nudged by a robot: Responses to agency and feedback, Annals of Tourism Research. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2019.102752.

      Tuomi, A., Tussyadiah, I.P., Stienmetz, J. (2019). Leveraging LEGO® Serious Play® to embrace AI and robots in tourism, Annals of Tourism Research, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2019.06.003.

      Wong, I., Xu, S., Chan, G., & He, M. (2019). A cross-level investigation of the role of human resources practices: Does brand equity matter? Tourism Management, 75, 418-426.

      Xu, S., & Cao, Z. (2019). Antecedents and outcomes of work-nonwork conflict in hospitality: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management31, 3919-3942.

      Xu, S. & Wang, J. (2019). Still waters stay put: Uncovering the effects of emotional variability using experience sampling methodology. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 19, 317-332.

      Lundberg, C., Ziakas, V. (2018). Fantrepreneurs in the Sharing Economy: Co-Creating Neo-Tribal Events. Event Management, 22 (2), 287-301.

      Lund, F., Cohen, S. & Scarles, C. (2018). The Power of Social Media Storytelling in Destination Branding, Destination Marketing and Management, Vol.8: 271-280. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdmm.2017.05.003.

      Sporea, R., Le Borgne, B.H., Yrjana, S., Nordman, S., Ritvonen, T., Seisto, A., Revill, G., Bober, M., Brown, A., Scarles, C. & Frohlich, D. (2018). Next Generation Paper: an augmented book platform, Proc. SPIE 10738, Organic and Hybrid Sensors and Bioelectronics XI, 1073811 (14 September 2018).

      Tussyadiah, I.P., Park, S. (2018). When Guests Trust Hosts for Their Words: Host Description and Trust in Sharing Economy. Tourism Management, 67, 261-272. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2018.02.002.

      Tussyadiah, I.P., Wang, D., Jung, T., tom Dieck, M.C. (2018). Virtual Reality, Presence and Attitude Change: Empirical Evidence from Tourism. Tourism Management, 66, 140-154. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2017.12.003.

      Tussyadiah, I.P., Jung, T., tom Dieck, M.C. (2018). Embodiment of Wearable Augmented Reality Technology in Tourism Experiences. Journal of Travel Research, 57(5), 597–611. DOI: 10.1177/0047287517709090.

      Gkritzali, A. (2017). Online sentiment recovery during a destination crisis. Annals of Tourism Research, 66, 183-185. DOI: 10.1016/j.annals.2017.05.012.

      Gkritzali, A., Gkritzali, D., Stavrou, V. (2017). Is Xenios Zeus Still Alive? Destination Image of Athens in the Years of Recession. Journal of Travel Research, 57(4), 540-554. DOI: 10.1177/0047287517705225.

      Li, S., Li, H., Song, H., Lundberg, C., Shen, S. (2017). The Economic Impact of On-Screen Tourism: The Case of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tourism Management, 60, 77-187. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2016.11.023.

      Lundberg, C., Ziakas, V., Morgan, N. (2017). Conceptualising on-screen tourism destination development. Tourist Studies, 18 (1).

      Park, S., Tussyadiah, I.P. (2017). Multidimensional Facets of Perceived Risk in Mobile Travel Booking. Journal of Travel Research, 56(7), 854–867. DOI: 10.1177/0047287516675062.

      Stangl. B., Prayag, G. (2017). Collaborative destination marketing and PWYW. Annals of Tourism Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.annals.2017.09.001.


      We have extensive industry links across the hospitality, tourism and events sectors. Partners have included organisations specialising in digital media and technology, as well as a range of other prestigious organisations:

      Recent events

      The future of destinations online forum

      As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have devastating impacts on destinations, governments and destinations have taken action to restore and invigorate the sector. This seminar drawing upon industry and academic insights aimed to consider what the impacts of the pandemic have been and how destinations are able to reposition visitor experiences during times of continued uncertainty whilst planning for the future.

      Our panel of distinguished industry speakers included:

      Our panel of Surrey academic speakers included:

      Find an expert


      Mark Ashton profile image

      Mark Ashton

      Senior Teaching Fellow; Deputy Director of Teaching and Learning

      Graham Berridge profile image

      Dr Graham Berridge

      Principal Teaching Fellow in Events

      Jason Chen profile image

      Dr Jason Chen

      Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Events Management

      Anita Eves profile image

      Professor Anita Eves

      Professor of Hospitality Management

      Alkmini Gkritzali profile image

      Dr Alkmini Gkritzali

      Senior Lecturer in Tourism

      Athina Ioannou profile image

      Dr Athina Ioannou

      Research Fellow in Privacy and Data Management

      Leo Jago profile image

      Professor Leo Jago

      Emeritus Professor

      Kerstine Lawley profile image

      Kerstine Lawley

      Director of Learning and Teaching (SHTM) Senior Teaching Fellow

      Anyu Liu profile image

      Dr Anyu Liu

      Senior Lecturer in Hospitality

      Hongbo (Daisy) Liu profile image

      Dr Daisy Liu

      Lecturer in Hospitality

      Pablo Pereira Doel profile image

      Pablo Pereira Doel

      Research Fellow

      Brigitte Stangl profile image

      Dr Brigitte Stangl

      Senior Lecturer in Tourism

      Iis Tussyadiah profile image

      Professor Iis Tussyadiah

      Acting Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Professor of Intelligent Systems in Service

      Shi (Tracy) Xu profile image

      Dr Tracy Xu

      Senior Lecturer in Hospitality

      Surrey Affiliated Members

      Adrian Hilton profile image

      Professor Adrian Hilton

      Director of Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing

      Ranjana Das profile image

      Dr Ranjana Das

      Reader in Media and Communication; University Theme Champion for Technology and Society

      Irina Cojuharenco profile image

      Dr Irina Cojuharenco

      Reader, Founding Director of the University of Surrey Business and Economic Experiments (USBEE) Laboratory

      Husna Zainal Abidin profile image

      Dr Husna Zainal Abidin

      Researcher Wakayama University, Japan

      Postgraduate research students

      Elizabeth Ashcroft profile image

      Elizabeth Ashcroft

      PhD Researcher

      Betty Burke profile image

      Betty Burke

      PhD Researcher

      Vanessa Cumper profile image

      Vanessa Cumper

      Postgraduate Research Student

      Christy Hehir profile image

      Christy Hehir

      Programme Leader and Lecturer in Events / PhD Researcher (Environmental Psychology & Travel)

      Branislava Jianu profile image

      Brana Jianu

      Postgraduate Research Student

      Hye Rhim Kim profile image

      Hye Rhim Kim

      PhD Researcher

      Wenliang Li (Max) profile image

      Max Li

      PhD Researcher

      Erin Chao Ling profile image

      Erin Ling

      PhD Researcher

      Ikram Nur Muharam profile image

      Ikram Nur Muharam

      Postgraduate Research Student

      Lauren Siegel profile image

      Lauren Siegel

      PhD Researcher

      Contact us

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