The tourist experience in the digital era: the case of Italian millennials

  • Tonino Pencarelli
  • Linda Gabbianelli
  • Elisabetta Savelli
Keywords: tourism experience; digital traveler; millennials; digital tourism; tourist journey


Purpose of the paper: The digital revolution is producing several economic and societal changes. The tourism sector, which is characterized by products with high information content and intangible value, is one of the main industries involved in these changes on both the supply side and the demand side. This paper examines how digital technologies impact tourists’ consumption experiences throughout the entire customer travel journey (planning, booking, experiencing, and sharing), with a special focus on millennials.

Methodology: On an empirical level, this research study aimed to describe the tourism-related buying and consumption behaviors of a sample of approximately 700 Italian consumers.

Results: The results of this empirical study highlighted that new technologies are used in all stages of the digital customer journey. Most of the respondents were experts in travel planning through digital technologies. The smartphone is mainly used by younger millennials, while the computer is mainly used by older millennials. With respect to social media, millennials prefer Instagram and Facebook for sharing content during and after trips.

Research limitations: This research study focused on the center of Italy, and the sample was not representative. Another limitation of this study was that the sample was made up of students, who do not have secure jobs and mainly depend on their parents’ incomes.

Practical implications: The practical implications that emerged from this study specifically related to attracting and retaining tourists and increasing their overall customer experience.

Originality of the paper: This study contributes to deepen the knowledge of millennials’ behaviors as tourists.


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