New course in Tourism Product & Experience Design for Bachelor students

Starting from fall 2017, the bachelor programs at MODUL University Vienna are offered with a selection of several majors including Event Management, Entrepreneurship, and Interactive Marketing. These new majors also mean new courses, and the seminar “Tourism Product & Experience Design” was among the first ones taught within the Tourism Management major for students of the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).

The rationale behind this course is to provide the students with a holistic understanding of the concept of a tourism product, as well as to introduce them to approaches to its development. Over ten sessions, students were introduced to concepts from the fields of tourism marketing, psychology, and service design.

“It was quite challenging to design the new course, as there is a lack of established and comprehensive literature that combines marketing and design approaches to tourism products but also considers the psychological aspects of the tourist experience,” says Lecturer Kristof Tomej. “However, the students in the group embraced the course with seriousness, creativity and flexibility, which has been a great support. They have become true co-creators of the teaching-learning experience, just as tourists co-create their travel experiences with the service providers.”

As part of the course, students were given a guided tour through one Vienna’s most outstanding museums – the KunstHausWien, which also houses the Hundertwassermuseum.  After the tour, the course participants reflected on their “tourist experiences” and then the applied theory and tools learned in class to extract insights from each other’s narratives. The students were also encouraged to express their creativity: equipped with posters, sticky-notes and markers, they worked on desirable customer journeys for selected “personas” and developed appropriate service blueprints for them.

BBA student Stefanie Cheung, who participated in the course, said she enjoyed the seminar and particularly the field excursion. “It has been fascinating to learn how my experience as a tourist is being designed by the service providers,” she said.

Nils Ripper, exchange student from the European Management School in Germany, expected that the course will be different from the typical tourism-related subjects. “And indeed, it was different because we studied the tourism experience from a social science perspective,” he said. “The course was not focusing on how to create the perfect tourism bundle, but rather on the relationship between the service providers and the consumers and how can we measure these [consumer] experiences.”

As with all courses at MU, student feedback is very valuable. It will be used to improve the seminar in the next semesters in order to offer MU students a learning experience that not only benefits their professional development, but also brings fun and enjoyment.