Making memories: a consumer-based model of authenticity applied to living history sites

Muhammet Kesgin*, Babak Taheri, Rajendran S. Murthy, Juilee Decker, Martin Joseph Gannon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Underpinned by the consumer-based model of authenticity (CBA), this study aims to investigate whether leisure involvement, object-based and existential authenticity, host sincerity and engagement stimulate positive memorable visitor experiences in a distinctive commercial hospitality setting: a living history site.

Design/methodology/approach: Quantitative data were gathered from living history site visitors (n = 1,004), with partial least squares structural equation modeling used to test the hypothesized relationships.

Findings: The results confirm the inclusion of the hypothesized relationships between leisure involvement, sincerity and authenticity, relative to engagement and subsequent memorability. The findings suggest that engagement can be a predictor of a positive memorable experience, contingent on CBA constructs (sincerity; object-based authenticity; existential authenticity). The significant association between object-based authenticity and memorable experience identified herein differs from some published studies, while other results are broadly consistent with extant research. Results also reveal significant differences for visitors who purchased souvenirs when compared to those who did not.

Research limitations/implications: The research extends the CBA by positing sincere hospitality as a relationship-based encounter between host and guest that influences social interaction, engagement and memorability within the novel living history site context. Further, the ability to differentiate visitors based on their purchases at the site is illustrated.

Originality/value: Given the ubiquity of engagement and authenticity as precursors to memorable experiences within contemporary commercial hospitality and heritage discourses, the findings apply to hospitality experiences beyond the living history site context examined herein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3610-3635
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number10
Early online date16 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2021


  • Authenticity
  • Commercial hospitality
  • Cultural consumption
  • Engagement
  • Memorable experiences
  • Sincerity
  • Souvenir purchasing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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