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Fall 2015

EFTI Research Ties Human Emotion and Ad Design

EFTI eye-tracking

A research participant wearing the eye-tracking technology

With the technology available today, researchers are able to track an individual’s emotions through wearable sensor technology. This new sensor technology has mostly been targeted towards people with an active lifestyle, but EFTI has taken this technology and is using it in a less-traditional way. UF’s Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute (EFTI), in partnership with Madden Media Inc., has launched a new interdisciplinary project to measure impacts of online destination advertisements by tracking actual emotional and cognitive responses. This project is a part of larger study – “Mapping iMotion” which aims to integrate emotions with experience design using state-of-art technology such as an eye-tracker and  arousal sensors.

Marketing companies, like Madden Media Inc., spend millions of dollars on online advertising to encourage people to visit certain places based on emotional ties to the destination. Knowing the emotional disposition of a potential tourist is essential to their business and successfully marketing destinations throughout the United States.  One of the goals of tourism advertising is to build emotional connection with people, places, and experiences which makes the ability to place facts in context and deliver them with emotional impacts becomes more important. EFTI is trying to examine how key elements of interactive storytelling in online tourism advertising affect viewer’s attention, emotional engagement, and memory towards advertisings and destination, and whether they encourage or discourage specific action.

Research participant participating in the online study

The research participant is wearing the sensor technology and reviewing the various online advertisements

A total of 196 online destination advertisements from 48 destinations in the U.S. were examined and grouped into 4 different segments based on story characteristics and points of view. After a series of web and lab-based experiments, the final 38 advertisements have been profiled using eye-movement, emotion tracking, and a self-report questionnaire.

Apart from providing proper design of online advertising components, it is expected that each storytelling technique deliver a unique value to the experience of online advertising, thereby delivering great value for both viewer and advertiser. By leveraging various combinations of interactive storytelling, advertisers can maximize the impact of online advertising and create successful cross media marketing campaigns. EFTI will continue to incorporate with new attention and emotion measuring technology in order to provide point-to point and actionable insights for enhancing experiences at tourism destinations.

The future of advertising is in our hands as consumers. With the spread of this technology and research, advertisements will more accurately appeal to our individual needs and emotions.

EFTI Completed the “Mapping iMotion of Sweetwater Wetlands Park (SWP) Visitors” Project with the City of Gainesville

EFTI just completed the “Mapping iMotion of Sweetwater Wetlands Park (SWP) Visitors” project teamed up with City of Gainesville – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (PRCA). Sweetwater Wetlands Park, located at 325 SW Williston Road, is Gainesville’s newest park intended to mitigate several outstanding environmental problems and to provide numerous benefits to the environment, the residents, and visitors to the City of Gainesville and Alachua County.

The goal of this project is to examine the interrelationships between arousal, attention and emotion so as to identify the features of SWP that are the most and the least appealing to visitors. Using a wearable eye-tracker, a mobile arousal sensor and a GPS device, researchers could better understand how visitors interact with and respond to the park. Also an iMotion map that visualized tourist emotional reaction toward the SWP was created.

EFTI will also continue the investigation into tourism experience through senses and how to develop new methods and technologies to undertake innovative research in tourism.

sweetwater imapping

SMART DESTINATIONS Research About to Begin

Dr. Daniel Fesenmaier and Mr. Jason Stienmetz of the National Laboratory for Tourism and eCommerce have recently entered a three-year contract between the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department and Visit Gainesville to conduct a research project entitled “SMART Gainesville.” Additionally, Dr. Fesenmaier and Mr. Stienmetz are collaborating with Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative on a two year contract with Visit Jacksonville for the “SMART Jacksonville” research project.

Both projects represent the exciting beginning of EFTI’s SMART Destinations research agenda, which aims to develop tools and methods that utilize numerous sources of tourism data (including Big Data from sources such as social media) for improved destination management. The SMART Destinations system under development is an integrated process/platform which enables a destination to collect, store, analyze and present detailed and harmonized information describing visitors. The major components of both projects will include:

  1. Visitor intercept surveys conducted using iPads,
  2. Marketing evaluation using an online survey methodology,
  3. Destination analytics including the generation of detailed visitor profiles, visitor spending patterns, and the connections and synergies among the various attractions within the destinations,
  4. The creation of an online dashboard reporting system that will summarize in real-time destination performance metrics.

Summer 2015

Silver River Recreational Use and Resource Condition Baseline Study

Dr. Stephen Holland paired with Dr. Chuck Cichra (Aquatics and Fisheries Sciences) have been awarded a 15 month research project with Florida state parks entitled “Silver River Recreational Use and Resource Condition Baseline Study.” In brief, due to the 2013 acquisition of the former Silver Springs theme park by Florida State Parks and a change in management goals for the park, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is interested in a scientifi c assessment of the level of recreational use and environmental condition of the Silver River ecosystem. An assessment of the level of aquatic recreational use of the river and the condition of the shoreline and submersed aquatic plant communities through observations and river user surveys during the 2015 year will be conducted with a summary report produced in the spring of 2016. Many consider this as one of Florida’s fi rst ecotourism destinations, with its fi rst tourist trips occurring by paddle boats before the Civil War in the 1850’s. The river attracts many ecotourists and nature viewers to this long established nature based destination. The University of Florida and EFTI faculty and research assistants will provide information to the park managers to maintain a sustainable and quality experience while enjoying the Silver River.

EFTI and TCMI partner with MMGY Global on Proposal to Conduct Tourism Crisis and Destination Image Study for Visit Baltimore

Dr. Dunn, Dr. Pennington-Gray and Jason Stienmetz worked with MMGY’s Dr. Peter Yesawich and Steve Cohen to submit a proposal to study Baltimore’s recent civil crisis and its a ect on the destinations image among consumers and meetings planners.

Big Data and the Colonial Quarter/St.Augustine Visitor Experience

EFTI has launched the new interdisciplinary project to investigate the St. Augustine visitor experience experimentally. This exciting new project partners with the Colonial Quarter to investigate the essence of the tourist experience; specifically the psycho-physiological effect of the Colonial Quarter visit on the tourist. Using cutting edge technology such as mobile eye-tracker, bio-physiological sensor, and GPS tracker, EFTI will show what tourists see and how they feel when they are traveling through St. Augustine. The massive amount of quantitative data such as eye-movement, emotion, and location generated will be integrated with qualitative questionnaires, enabling us to understand the interaction of place, story, and people. Also, this interdisciplinary project will create an “iMotion map” that visualize tourist emotional reaction toward the Colonial Quarter/St. Augustine. EFTI will also collect and analyze massive amounts of tourist data from social media sources such as Twitter and Flickr in order to understand visitors’ interpretations of the Colonial Quarter attraction and the overall St. Augustine leisure experience. When combined with traditional research techniques such as visitor surveys, the Big Data analysis from this project will result in more detailed visitor profiles and suggest effective avenues for attraction design/development and marketing that can lead to increased visitor satisfaction and greater economic returns.