During the last years, various media technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have gained increased attention in consumer markets and tourism. For theme parks, especially those with rollercoasters, wearable VR devices are expected to be associated with various benefits for tourists’ experience. Therefore, adventure park managers with VR rollercoasters have a keen interest in understanding the drivers and psychological mechanisms of their visitors, especially those associated with economic benefits. Against this background, this study provides a conceptual model grounded in the VR and AR literature. The model is then tested in a Finnish amusement park with a VR switchback, and analysed using structural equation modelling. Result show that entertainment value and service quality drive satisfaction and subsequently word of mouth, but results do not confirm the importance on visitors’ willingness to pay an extra fee for a VR experience. However, this economically crucial variable is determined by social presence of other people, indicating that visitors are willing to pay for experiencing an immersive experience with other people. Theoretical and managerial implications are derived, and avenues for further research discussed.
In book: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality – Empowering Human, Place and Business, Publisher: Springer, Editors: Timothy Jung, M. Claudia tom Dieck