The moderating effect of mental simulation on destination image created through motion pictures: A study using the TV2 drama series ‘Badehotellet’

Christina Schneider & Camilla Nørskov Andersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Research within the area of destination promotion has found motion pictures to have a great impact on viewers’ travel decisions, increasing visitor numbers and the general image of locations shown in the motion pictures. Within the literature on narrative transportation, research suggests that mental imagery results in a more positive product evaluation together with the advertisement that causes the simulation. This thesis combines the two research areas, and thus aims to investigate how the use of mental simulation moderates the positive effect which motion pictures have on a destination’s image. Based on a review on image, a model that links overall destination image to three components, that is the cognitive, the affective and the behavioral component, is proposed. Using a case study method (N = 220) based on TV2’s drama series ‘Badehotellet’, the underlying hypotheses are tested through quantitative survey data. Contrary to previous studies, the analysis shows motion pictures to have a negative effect on destination image, and thus it is neither possible to prove the moderating effect of mental simulation on motion pictures’ favorable effect on the image of a tourist destination. All the stated hypotheses are therefore rejected. A number of covariates are controlled for in order to reveal possible explanations for this rejection. The investigation shows that the negative relationship between motion pictures and destination image is mediated by whether or not respondents like the ad they are exposed to in the experiment. However, this is only a partial explanation since it does not make the relationship positive, but only neutralizes parts of the image. Thus, this experiment has not succeeded in proving the joint effect of motion pictures and mental simulation on destination image, but arises several interesting research areas for future studies.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages135