Sustainable Experience Design

Professor: Frans Melissen, PhD and full professor
Research topic: Successfully designing and staging sustainable hospitality experiences


The reference point for this professorship is that the rise of the experience economy and the ever-increasing relevance of the concept of sustainable development strengthen each other.

Almost all organisations, businesses and professionals should address experience economy and sustainable development simultaneously. Research by this professorship therefore focuses on creating optimal contexts for designing hospitality experiences that address both developments simultaneously.

Realising a transition towards sustainable development represents today’s and tomorrow’s biggest and most urgent societal challenge. Rising to this challenge requires us, as society, to create a sustainable alternative to our current socio-economic system. Doing so we will have to smartly negotiate or avoid the lock-in effects of our current system and especially the social dilemmas that lie at the heart of the current unsustainable course of our society. The only way you could expect to achieve this is by involving all stakeholders in creating sustainable solutions. This requires that their interests, their values, their needs and wishes are taken into account. 

In exploring these solutions, it is important to address the design of hospitality and other types of experiences, given that people increasingly focus on experiences instead of products and services to satisfy their needs and wishes. However, customers, residents, employees, and the like, all have very different reasons for wanting to consume specific experiences.  In fact, based on their different needs and wishes, values, priorities and personalities, these groups of experience consumers might react quite differently to the very same cues and stimuli. 

Ultimately, the goal of this professorship is to develop, apply and disseminate theories, methods, tools and techniques aimed at assisting organisations, businesses, professionals, and other stakeholders in hospitality, tourism, events and beyond, in successfully designing and staging sustainable hospitality and other types of experiences.

This professorship is closely linked to the professorship of Social Impacts for Tourism.


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