The Recreation Experience Model would provide considerable assistance to people serving other people in practically any context. I see this to be a valuable way for businesses and service organizations to look at how they will interact with their customers. Also, to give us a greater understanding about the larger context that we live our lives through our experiences.
Here is presented the model that I used when teaching a course for economic development directors about diversifying community economies into Experiential Tourism. The course is entitled "A New Pair of Glasses". As you read, adapt your own understanding of your experiences and how this model could assist you to
The Recreation (Tourism) Experience Model
An important concept to grasp for understanding how the tourism product is received by the consumer is illustrated in the recreation experience model. Tourism experiences are unique because, when best developed, they usually occur over time, and will potentially be long-lasting and life changing.
Nearly everyone can remember a very memorable travel experience.
In essence there are five points in time that the model describes where the traveler will anticipate, experience or reflect. Here is a cursory overview:
1) Anticipation. This first point is when a person begins to contemplate their travel experience. The tourism product provider can make their first impression here because this is when their customer makes contact to make their travel (or visit) arrangements. They might do it by phone, on the Internet (most common now) or occasionally make a preliminary visit. Careful consideration should be given to quality customer service by the business or community trying to attract a customer, often this is when the sale is made. Typically travel purchases are made “site unseen”, unless you have developed a wonderful Website that gives them a sense of the experience.
2) Travel to. As people travel to their destinations they have an abundance of time and they will begin contemplating their future experience. If they have received some promotional information from the attraction they will be visiting, this will enhance their anticipation.
3) On-site experience. This is when the traveler actually arrives and participates in their recreational/leisure activity. As with any business, careful consideration to all aspects of their visitor’s experience is important to make a positive and lasting impression.
4) Travel from. Because travel often takes a considerable amount of time, this can be a very important stage for a traveler’s experience. Based on the culmination of their anticipation, whether or not their expectations were met or exceeded during their “on-site” experience will determine the type of reflection that will occur during this part of the recreation/tourism experience. It is important to note that word-of-mouth is a primary marketing driver for the experiential tourism industry. If the experience was good, then they will likely be thinking of telling their friends and family about their trip. Otherwise, well, we have all heard the saying about at least ten people hearing about it.
5) Recollection. Often times some of the “negatives” of a person’s travel experience might fade over time, depending on the severity of the situation. As mentioned previously, it seems almost universal that people will reflect on their travel experiences and decide whether or not they would like to participate in it again. Their memories can be enhanced by the purchase of memorabilia or by the tourism destination providing some sort of ongoing communication with their customers. This might come in the form of a newsletter, (printed or electronic), or an occasional postcard to inform the client of a special event or offer. In any case, as a tourism product provider, one needs to be mindful of the process of the “Recreation Experience Model” and give careful consideration to the product development and marketing strategies.