Digital visitor economy

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

Research aims

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.


    Our research group is equipped with a world-class biometric research laboratory to facilitate various consumer behaviour studies using psycho-physiological measurements. The digital lab is outfitted with an integrated system of biometric sensor equipment including remote and mobile eye-tracking, facial expression, galvanic skin response (GSR), optical heart rate, etc. Using various biometric sensors in addition to other methodologies such as interviews and surveys, researchers are able to combine and synchronise data to enhance our investigations. Our lab allows us to experiment with the latest technology applications in tourism, hospitality, and events, such as virtual reality and social robots.


    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:

    Research projects

    Current projects



    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.


    Principal investigator

    Professor David Frohlich


    Prof Caroline Scarles

    Additional team members

    The project team is comprised of members from the University of Surrey and the Open University. Non-academic partners include Bradt Travel Guides, Emirates Holidays UK, HP, Librios Web Publishing, Otava Publishing Company, Ifolor Photo Printing, and Novacentrix.

    Funding amount

    £953,078 (grant number: EP/P02579X/1)


    Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council


    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.


    Principal investigator

    Dr Iis Tussyadiah


    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 China Travel Service, Crossword Cybersecurity, Expedia, HAT Community Foundation, International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism, NCC Group,, and World Travel and Tourism Council.

    Funding amount

    £1,135,799 (grant numbers: EP/R033749/1, EP/R033196/1, EP/R033609/1)


    Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

    Start date

    1 October 2018

    End date

    30 September 2021


    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.


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

    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.

    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:

    Tussyadiah, I.P., Zach, F.J., Wang, J. (2020). Do travelers trust intelligent service robots? Annals of Tourism Research, 81. DOI:

    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.

    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.

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

    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.

    Tussyadiah, I., Miller, G. (2019). Nudged by a robot: Responses to agency and feedback, Annals of Tourism Research. DOI:

    Tuomi, A., Tussyadiah, I.P., Stienmetz, J. (2019). Leveraging LEGO® Serious Play® to embrace AI and robots in tourism, Annals of Tourism Research, DOI:

    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.

    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.

    Contact us

    • Phone: +44 (0)1483 686300
    • Fax: +44 (0)1483 686346

    Find us

    School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
    Austin Pearce Building (AP)
    University of Surrey
    GU2 7XH