Payal Ghatnekar


Online User Experiences (UXs) act as persuasive technology that can nudge users toward making behaviour change. This makes online UX integral to marketing. The tourism industry relies on UX to attract potential customers. Made up of 80% SMEs, the competition is high, hence the SMEs must deliver robust UXs that capture, persuade and convert users into customers. Tourism, despite being an early adopter of technology lags behind in terms of delivering UXs that meet users’ expectations. Furthermore, scholarly works exploring online UX as a persuasive technology within the tourism SMEs, specifically the day-attraction SMEs segment, are lacking. Using the theoretical framework of the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model, this research evaluates day attraction SMEs’ online UXs as persuasive technology. The research uses three mixed-methods to present the service providers’ and the users’ perspectives. The first method is a website content analysis that reviews the persuasive architecture of 102-day attraction websites. The second method uses questionnaires to get insights on tourists’ online usage, motivations, opinions and perceptions of online UX delivered by a single day attraction SME (case study). The third method, an eye tracking experiment is an extension to the questionnaires. The outcomes show that the SMEs’ incorporate persuasive UX elements corresponding to usability, visual aesthetics and credibility, but fail at incorporating strategies to support dialogue. The tourists’ suggest that usability, visual aesthetics and credibility UX elements affect their decision to buy, however, certain strategies that enhance dialogue, such as ability to win rewards, are likely to nudge them toward behaviour change. Furthermore, there appears to be a link between visual aesthetics and perceived usability, and their combined effect on persuasiveness. A final outcome establishes tourist’s website reading patterns, emphasising the placement of call-to-actions within an F-shape region. This research contributes through a customised version of the PSD model applicable for tourism SMEs, delivers empirical evidence suggesting additions to the model and, adds to the overall body of knowledge on tourism online UXs and persuasive technology.

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