Share Your Real Experience: Assessing Tourist Negative Emotions towards Authentic Food with Self-Report And Physiological Response Methods 

Celso Brito, MSc., European Campus Rottal-Inn, Deggendorf Institute of Technology, Germany,   
Prof. Dr. Katerina Volchek, European Campus Rottal-Inn, Deggendorf Institute of Technology, Germany

The recognition of negative emotions as part of tourism experiences used to be a challenge for the service economy. An emotional response to a product or service is an occurrence of a short duration, which does not always transmit into long-term memory (Volo, 2021). The memorised interactions are then perceived through a prism of personal values, attitudes, social norms and requirements. When sharing their experiences, tourists may adjust their responses to be polite (Rozin and Royzman, 2001). This makes self-report research methods not entirely suitable for recognising negative emotions (Overall et al., 2020). 

Contemporary technologies provide researchers with portable and highly sensitive sensors capable of monitoring human physiological reactions on experienced products. The analysis of physiological responses can help overcome self-report techniques’ bias (Li et al., 2018, Volo, 2021). However, actionable frameworks for different contexts are still missing.
The workshop will explain a possible way to recognise tourist emotions. It will demonstrate a way to set a controlled experiment to trigger human emotional reactions towards products and recognise them by observing their facial expression analysis, change in skin conductance level and eye movement, as well as by recording individual post-experiment face-to-face perceptions.

Li, S., Walters, G., Packer, J. & Scott, N. (2018). A comparative analysis of self-report and psychophysiological measures of emotion in the context of tourism advertising. Journal of Travel Research, 57, 1078-1092.
Overall, N. C., Clark, M. S., Fletcher, G. J., Peters, B. J. & Chang, V. T. (2020). Does expressing emotions enhance perceptual accuracy of negative emotions during relationship interactions? Emotion, 20, 353.
Rozin, P. & Royzman, E. B. (2001). Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion. Personality and social psychology review, 5, 296-320.
Volo, S. (2021). The experience of emotion: Directions for tourism design. Annals of Tourism Research, 86, 103097. 

Biometric technologies for tourism: getting insights in the field

During our Tourism Naturally Online Symposium, iMotions will explain everything about "Biometric technologies for tourism: getting insights in the field" in a 90-minute workshop.
iMotions offers innovative software technologies for research with biometric sensors, such as Eye-tracking, Facial Expression Analysis, Heart Rate monitoring, and allows you to run studies both in the lab and in the field. We’re going to present our Mobile platform, with a case centered around the use of biometrics and location-aware technologies to get insights on how visitors explore a city. We will also demonstrate our Online platform, which can be used for large scale studies on tourist websites and promotional materials.
We are looking forward to this great opportunity and to a lively participation!

How can AI revolutionise the cruise industry?

Dimitrios Athanasopoulos, European Campus Rottal-Inn, Deggendorf Institute of Technology, Germany

Almost everyone knows what a cruise is. Either tried it, dreamed, planned or thought of getting on board on one and experience first-hand a unique trip where food, transportation to destinations, accommodation and constant entertainment happens in one place. Since the introduction of fun ship by Carnival Cruise Lines in 1972, cruises have been a central form of the tourism industry for more than half a century. The presence of mega cruise liners in ports around the world has continued to increase over the last decades. The cruise industry is arguable the fastest growing segment of tourism. Those boats themselves are evidence of engineering marvels and the evolution of the entertainment architecture and industry.

In many cases, those ships could be considered the purpose of the trip instead of a mean of transportation to reach a destination. Since those floating leviathans are bigger than the ones companies used in previous decades, they are able to host a larger number of people and offer a much broader variety of experiences.

The WOW element:

The benefits of implementing AI technologies in ships are undeniable. Slowly, operators such as the Royal Caribbean Cruises have been adopting smart technologies to bring solutions to problems that were thought to be unavoidable. One of them was boarding a cruise ship. Checking in a sizable number of passenger arriving or departing at the same time is a great challenge, as much of the first and last day is spent on processes that could be avoided and potentially compromise the experience. Facial recognition technology  is a great tool for this.

When purchasing the cruise package, the customer can upload a photo of themselves and the passengers travelling with them. Powerful central computers scan and recognize the faces of them and with the help of high-resolution cameras can recognize when those guests are on board and  therefore bypass the necessity for manually checking their documents.

This is a great example of how the experience can improve but there are many more applications to this technology once the customer is on board. The aim of it is to make the customer as comfortable as possible and help them to make the most out of their time on board. The AI can provide personalized suggestions on how to spend the time choosing from a plethora of events that happen at the same time or which one would be more satisfying based on its taste.

When we talk about AI, we cannot exclude chatbots that allow passengers to ask questions about the destination, paperwork, itinerary, events etc. This way, it can better understand customer needs and minimize congestions and queues. These  machines are constantly learning and evolving. They are getting better at providing tailored responses to customers’ needs, but at the same time they are looking over the responses of human employee to mimic them.

Cruise companies that invest in these technologies can compete more effectively. They act as transport, F&B provider, hotel and entertainment company in one place. They can generate a large amount of big data, which means that the full spectrum of the customer journey can be tracked across all these functions and get a better perspective on data-driven customer service. 

Moreover, by leveraging the already existing CCTV monitoring camera systems that those ships are equipped with and the installation of sensors in key locations, the computers can understand what the number of people concentrated in one location is at any given time. This could help avoid overcrowding and estimate waiting times or maximum capacity but it can also assist with better redistribution of staff in location where their help is needed.

Inarguably, one of the main negative aspects of cruises is food waste. Unfortunately, it is a problem that has companies are trying to solve for a very long time. Deploying AI could be extremely beneficial to fight it.

Artificial Intelligence can decide how much food is stocked, which one should be prioritized based on its expiration and improve freshness and ensure that all guests are well-fed but on the same time the wastage is shrinked. Undoubtedly, this would make cruise lines much more environmentally friendly.

AI will not replace jobs but in contrast, it will enable employees to spend their valuable time in positions that have a meaningful impact on the customer experience. AI is a constant process of trial, error, learning and success. Currently, these technologies are being tested on a small scale, but it is given that we will see them as the norm in the  foreseeable future.