Research themes - Visitor Economy Research Group - University of Derby

Research themes

Digital Technologies in Tourism

Digital technologies are crucial for businesses and destinations to connect and engage with their visitors.

Our research activity covers six distinct themes:

Accessible Tourism

Accessible tourism (also known as inclusive tourism or tourism for all) describes tourism that serves the needs of a full range of consumers.

The inclusive tourism market not only encompasses people with disabilities, but also families with young children and senior travellers. The market has grown significantly over the last few years, with many businesses who cater for this market seeing higher occupancy rates and development of a loyal customer base who keep returning.

Our research focuses on the needs of travellers with disabilities on the one hand, and on the opportunities and challenges encountered by tourism and hospitality suppliers on the other.
Of particular interest is the generation, presentation, dissemination and management of accessibility information through various technology platforms.

Technology and Innovation

Our research in this area focuses on the use and adoption of different technologies. We look at end user preferences, needs and requirements in terms of technology for designing and developing optimised business solutions that enhance customer experiences.

Digital technologies such as social media, smartphone apps, and augmented and virtual reality applications are crucial for businesses and destinations to connect and engage with their visitors. We help businesses better understand and utilise these tools to improve customer retention, satisfaction and loyalty.

Wellness

The quest for wellness has been gaining momentum over the past few years. Visitors are now seeking more than a spa treatment to relax. They are looking for unique and authentic experiences that have deep and meaningful impact. It is one thing to unplug; and quite another to really disconnect and reconnect to self and others.

Our research in this area focuses on exploring factors underpinning demand for wellbeing and wellness services but also on critical challenges on spa and wellness product and service delivery.

Community Engagement

For over two decades the University of Derby has actively engaged in an advisory, consultancy and critical friend role to tourism and the visitor economy in the East Midlands; more specifically to the Peak District.

Our research focuses on the analysis of the key role of the mentor in developing skills for rural community-based tourism in the Peak District, Derbyshire. Tourism has become a key opportunity for development, for regeneration and for community democracy. Through the mentor role we can educate the community to ‘do’ tourism in a better and more meaningful way through new skills and improved competency.

Events Portfolios in Destinations

Sustainable Development 

Find out more