Roles of internationally staged experiences from a consumer perspective: An exploratory case study of Roskilde Road Trip

Lee Ann Hollesen Basse

Student thesis: Master thesis


Today, an increasing number of companies stage experiences to gain competitive advantage (Poulsson & Kale, 2004). The concept of commercial experiences is, however, still emerging (Schmitt, 2011) and little is known from an international perspective. This thesis seeks to elucidate roles of staged experiences in forming consumers’ perception of a cultural event abroad. It focuses on the big Danish festival, Roskilde Festival, which seeks to attract German visitors by staging the Roskilde Road Trip experience in Hamburg. A single-case study design is applied and 13 qualitative interviews conducted with Road Trip participants serve as the main empirical data. The exploratory research finds that staged experiences play different roles ranging from entertainment over education to evoking feelings. The scope of these roles depends on how active participants are and how much time they spend with the experience. The findings have several contributions. Theoretically, the research contributes by extending knowledge on the role of staged experiences abroad. Existing theory states that experiences can educate participants by communicating intentional messages but my data shows that also unintentional messages may be mediated. My study further shows that a staged experience can give an impression of the participants and atmosphere of the original experience and that the experience duration is thereby a key factor. The research also refines knowledge on co-creation of staged experiences in two ways: first, it shows that by co-creating the staged experience, participants may feel they are co-creating parts of the original experience and second, that co-creation is especially valued in the concept phase. On a managerial level, the research stresses the importance of acknowledging that all experiences are co-created which means they cannot be staged with fully predictable outcomes. Moreover, a holistic experience should be aimed at to hinder participants getting a skewed impression. Cultural differences may be treated as an asset but regional characteristics should be taken into account. Finally, the research concludes that staging experiences can be a useful way of marketing a cultural event abroad because abstract features such as values, atmosphere, and feelings can successfully be mediated. Because the findings stem from a single-case study, they may not, however, be generalisable to other companies and industries but instead provide a basis for future research on staged experiences abroad.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages125