Satisfaction vs experienced utility: current issues and opportunities

Satisfaction is one of the most studied constructs in many fields, including tourism. As an important marketing metric, satisfaction is typically measured with self-reported retrospective evaluations of travel experience. However, the memory-based approaches have numerous limitations related to social desirability, availability heuristics, previous knowledge, mood at the time of answering questions and do not reflect the moment-by-moment nature of visitor experience. The shortcomings and limitations of self-reported retrospective evaluations could be eliminated by introducing pre-visit, on-site, and post-visit instant components of experienced utility as measures of visitor experience. The experienced utility allows eliminating the majority of self-report biases, capturing the affective components of visitor experience, analysing relationships between anticipation, experienced, and remembered utilities, and applying emerging moment-based research techniques. Therefore, this manuscript proposes a measurable definition of experienced utility and appropriate measures to assess visitor experience.