Experimental research in hospitality and tourism: a critical review

Lawrence Hoc Nang Fong, Chun Hung Roberts Law, Candy Mei Fung Tang, Matthew Hong Tai Yap

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper aims to examine the prevalence and trend of experimental research in hospitality and tourism. Hospitality and tourism researchers have long been encouraged to increase their use of experimental designs. However, a solid support for such advocacy is lacking, and the present paper fills in this research gap. Design/methodology/approach – By using a systematic approach, this study reviews 161 tourism and hospitality articles and conducts content analysis based on certain criteria including journal outlets, Social Sciences Citation Index journals, years of publication, contexts, disciplinary foci, experimental designs, settings, number of independent variables, number of studies per article, manipulation methods, manipulation check, research subjects, sample size, subjects per experimental condition, statistical analyses and provision of effect size. The criteria between hospitality and tourism publications are also compared. Findings – Findings show that the number of experimental publications has significantly increased over the past decade, especially in hospitality publications. Nonetheless, there is still room for improvement in applying the experimental design in hospitality and tourism research. Research limitations/implications – Researchers in hospitality and tourism are recommended to report manipulation check results and the effect size of statistically significant results, as well as to devote more effort to knowledge accumulation and methodological advancement of experimental designs. Originality/value – This study is the first to review experimental research in hospitality and tourism. The findings of this study provide significant implications and directions for hospitality and tourism researchers to conduct experimental research in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-266
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Content analysis
  • Experiment
  • Hospitality
  • Systematic review
  • Tourism
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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