Reconciling unsatisfying tourism experiences: Message type effectiveness and the role of counterfactual thinking

Saerom Wang, Ksenia Kirillova, Xinran Lehto

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Yet, the questions of how to rectify unsatisfying tourism experiences received little attention in tourism scholarship. In the present research, we investigated the effectiveness of different forms of marketing messages and the role of counterfactual thinking in the ability of a marketing message to improve tourists' attitudes towards the destination and intentions to recommend, when a tourism experience was not up to tourists' satisfaction. A scenario-based experiment was conducted with 480 respondents. The results showed that user-generated messages and the messages employing emotional appeal were more impactful than destination-generated or rational messages. Respondents who engaged in downward counterfactual thinking, that is imagining the situation in which their experience could have been worse, was shown to have a greater positive effect on unsatisfied tourists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Counterfactual thinking
  • Destination marketing
  • Message appeal
  • Message authorship
  • Message effectiveness
  • Post-purchase evaluation
  • Post-trip experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management

Cite this