The Journey from Episode to Evaluation: How Travelers Arrive at Summary Evaluations

Robin Chark, Brian King, Candy Mei Fung Tang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding how travelers evaluate their overall trip experience is important to travel research. Psychologists suggested that these retrospective evaluations are often made by temporally integrating multiple episodes following simple heuristics that draw on key episodes only, typically the peak and end episodes, rather than considering every episodic evaluation, weighted by its respective duration. To test these aggregation rules, a survey adapting the Day Reconstruction Method was conducted in 2017 among 691 travelers to Macau. Our findings reveal that summary evaluations are better predicted using an arithmetic average of all episodic evaluations, instead of the peak-end rule. This may be explained by the lengthier and more complex nature of travel, compared with other extended experiences that psychologists have investigated. The immediate theoretical implications are that (1) aggregate trip evaluations are influenced by most episodes, and (2) the relative duration of individual episodes is disregarded. Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2020


  • Day Reconstruction Method
  • peak-end rule
  • retrospective evaluation of experience
  • simple average
  • temporal integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'The Journey from Episode to Evaluation: How Travelers Arrive at Summary Evaluations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this