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Karl, Marion ORCID: 0000-0002-0666-4997; Kock, Florian ORCID: 0000-0002-4259-3428; Bauer, Alexander; Ritchie, Brent W. ORCID: 0000-0003-1540-9389; Assaf, A. George ORCID: 0000-0002-3920-2844 (2022): When the Future is Now: An Experimental Study on the Role of Future Thinking and Affective Forecasting in Accommodation Decision-Making. In: Journal of Travel Research
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When people make travel decisions, they consult their imagination, considering how they would feel in the respective travel situation. Both, researchers who examine this phenomenon and practitioners executing it, commonly hold the vague assumption of an evaluative cognitive process that enables tourists to factor such information into their decision-making process. The nature and functioning of such a process is largely unknown. The authors suggest that travelers, often subconsciously, mentally simulate future hotel stays and predict future feelings to inform their decision-making, a process referred to as affective forecasting. Executing an experimental design, the authors show that actively engaging in episodic future thinking to trigger affective forecasting increases travelers’ intentions toward holiday accommodations. This effect is mediated by hotel trust and risk perception, demonstrating that affective forecasting is an effective way for regaining tourists’ trust and reducing their perceived risk during a pandemic. Contributions to theory and practical implications are discussed.