How to cite this article:

A G Subakti, K C Komsary, & N Khrisnamukti. (2016). Experiential Marketing: Its implication on museum in Indonesia (Case Study of House of Sampoerna Museum). Proceeding of The 3rd International Hospitality and Tourism Conference (IHTC) and The 2nd International Seminar on Tourism (ISOT). Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia and Univerisiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia. October 10-12th, 2017. Bandung. Indonesia

Experiential Marketing: Its implication on museum in Indonesia

(Case Study of House of Sampoerna Museum)


A G Subakti, K C Komsary, N Khrisnamukti

Hotel Management and Tourism Destination

Bina Nusantara University



ABSTRACT: Tourism in many aspects is involving many experiential activities. Museum is one of tourist attraction that arise visitor emotional experience. This experience is important when developing and managing museum to sustain in attracting visitor. This study tries to analyze visitor’s different types of experience and expectations while visiting museum through perceived value.  Using Schmitt’s experiential marketing approach, a questionnaire of visitor experience and expectations of museum was developed. Some related discussions were proposed at the end of this paper.


Keywords: Experiential marketing, museum, interpretation



1      introduction

Museums, national parks and historic places have been recognized has managed to increase tourist arrivals and become tourist choice around the world. Heritage, in all its forms (including museums), become as a city identity or landmark (Katam & Abadi, 2005). Museum is categorized as indoor and outdoor heritage attractions including historic buildings (palaces and homes), art galleries and theatres (Yale, 1991).

One of the historical buildings is the House of Sampoerna (HOS) Museum. This building which was founded in 1862 and remains in use as a place of production of cigarettes as well as the tourist destinations in Surabaya. Partially has been converted into a museum displaying the story and success of Sampoerna as the largest cigarette producer in Indonesia, the building which has now entered the age of 154 years has become a part of history in Surabaya and protected as a historical site. As it ages more than 50 years old and has uniqueness in terms of architectural and become a part of the collective memory of society, it deserve to be called as a historic building (Tarekat, 2010).

Nowadays many heritage tourist attractions competes each other to pull tourist arrival. Visitor attractions are at the heart of the tourism industry, they are motivators that make people wants to take a trip in the first place (Swarbrooke, 1995). Otherwise the interpretation itself is an educational activity that aims to uncover the meaning through direct experience and media illustrations (Seabroke & Miles, 1993). Interpretations have to be provided, because some artifacts (or collections) in particular do not speak for themselves and their meaning could often be hidden (Noakes, 1997) that is why interpretation plays a key role in attracting visitors to museums.   Effective interpretation can enhance the quality of the experience for visitors and encourage continued visitor interest in tourist attraction in this case the museum.

It should be underlined that the interpretation is the key element in delivering education for visitors. This is consistent with the purpose of a museum that is to communicate and exhibit collection to visitors thus interpretation has a role in the provision of more enjoyable facilities and lead to conservation and sustainability (Timothy & Boyd, 2002). One method to bring visitors to museum is through experience marketing. Experiential marketing is the process of identifying and satisfying customer needs and aspirations profitably, engaging them through two-way communications that bring brand personalities (museum) to life and add value to the target audience (Smilansky, 2009). This experiential marketing provides benefit for bringing a brand personality to life (Smilansky, 2009). For example, if a museum targets young students and the brand personality is inquisitive then the interactive experience will be focused on a similarly inquisitive activity, such as a game that involves problem solving similar to an amusement center offers in Montreal Canada (A/Maze Escape Game Montreal). This approach can strengthening the relationship between visitors and the museum through interactive experiential activity while visiting and experience the museum as Trauer suggested that tourism involves experiential and emotional nature (Trauer, 2006)

2      Literature review

2.1 Interpretation

“Interpretation is a communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meanings inherent in the resource” (NAI). Drummond argued interpretation and presentation are central to the discussion on authenticity and heritage interpretation provides the key to successful management (Drummond, 2001).

According to Seabroke and Miles (1993) interpretation not only identifies an information, but to collect, process and present a rapid, precise and interesting information to be presented, so that the visitors feel interested in and then have a strong desire to dig up information that has not been revealed on a website, buildings and artifacts that would lead to a form of appreciation.

Interpretation should aim to increase visitor awareness of conservation, respect the cultural values and appropriate behavior on a historical building. It supported with statements from Uzzel and Ballantyne (1998) which says that interpretation is a tool to preserve a historic building.

The principle of interpretation in its implementation should have a specific purpose, such as Seabroke and Miles (1993) proposed that the purpose of interpretation are: a) To provide an enjoyable and rewarding educational experience for visitors, b) To enhance visitor appreciation and understanding of the site, c) To maximize the carrying capacity of the site and minimize the impact of visitors, d) To promote an understanding of the agency providing or operating the site. Thus in advance, the purpose of interpretation at the museum is to add value, good positioning for the museum product, attract markets, and reflect personal and organizational ethics.

But in fact too many heritage presentations are information led. Interpretation twists the approach to make it audience-led. The challenge is to arouse the visitors’ curiosity, to involve and engage them with the site. Through this, visitors are encouraged to think for themselves and to want to discover more: ‘revealing . . . something of the beauty and wonder, the inspiration and spiritual meaning that lie behind what the visitor can with his senses perceive’(Tilden,1997). Based on the principles of learning by doing, Lewis recognized that people retain about: 10 per cent of what they hear, 30 per cent of what they read, 50 per cent of what they see, 90 per cent of what they do (Lewis, 1994). Lewis argues that the real aim of active participation is to engage the visitor’s mind, to generate a sense of discovery. There are 2 basic interpretation approaches to increase visitor experience in museums.

 First, the personal interpretation. Veverka (1994) stated that the fundamental element of verbal communication is to consider the words we use or how we say to them; they may convey hidden messages as well. It means that we must know the characteristics of the visitors, so that we can sort out the information that we present to the various types of visitors. Personal interpretation or better known as the tour guide can make people feel more comfortable and make two-way communication that will initiate an interesting discussion. No matter how, it all depends on the abilities and talents of each individual to communicate and attract interactively (Sharpe, 1982).

Secondly, is non-personal interpretation. It is the way of communicating information to visitors using a device or media which aim to facilitate the interpreter beyond his ability to complement and enhance the information that will be presented to visitors (Sharpe, 1982). Some of media used can be audio-visual devices, printing material (brochures and leaflets) and exhibits.

Museums have to take into account the visitors behaviors and needs in various aspects, such as service, equipment and psychology to meet their needs and desire for knowledge and experiences. One method that can be used to attract visitors while providing an exciting experience for visitors is through experiential marketing.

2.2 Experiential Marketing

Schmitt (1999) presented five types of experience marketing approaches, referred to as strategic experiential modules sense, feel, think, act, and relate. According to Schmitt, “sense” appeals in creating sensory experiences through sight, sound, touch, taste and smell to consumers’ senses.  “Feel” appeals to customers’ inner feelings and emotions, its objective is to create affective experiences ranging from mildly positive moods linked to a brand (in this case: the museum) to strong emotions of joy and pride. “Think marketing” appeals to the intellect in order to deliver cognitive, problem-solving experiences that engage customers creatively. “Act” targets physical behaviors, lifestyles, and interactions and enriches customers’ lives by targeting their physical experiences, showing them alternative ways of doing things. Finally, “relate marketing” creates experiences by taking into account individuals’ desires to be part of a social context or in the to the individual’s desire for self-improvement. Museum should provide stimuli that result in customer experiences thus the museum can be seen attractive. Schmitt (1999) suggested experiences occur as a result of encountering, undergoing or living through thing. According to Schmitt, the sense module intended to motivate costumer (visitor) and to add value to product (museum). Feel module is intended to trigger certain emotion of the customer (visitor) to engage in empathy. Think module is intended to engage customer creatively, while the act module is intended to show customer alternatives of doing things. The final module (relate) to portrait individuals want to relate to outside their private state.

 This concept of experience marketing is applied in conducting visitors’ experience at House of Sampoerna Museum. The experiential modules (sense, feel, think, act and relate) were used to measure how good the interpretation were made on House of Sampoerna Museum.

3      Methodology

This study is conducted with single case study and in this case, the study took the House of Sampoerna Museum as an example. The Schmitt’s experiential marketing is used as a method to measure visitor perceived experiential value and satisfaction. This method emphasize on Schmitt’s experiential framework of customer experiences: sense, feel, think, act, and relate. This framework is used to construct questionaire to obtain experiential value among the current visitors of House of Sampoerna Museum. This study used participant-observation; visitors at the museum are given a series of questionnaire asking about their perception on facility and interpretation in the museum according to what they experience during visit at the museum. Accidental sampling technique was adopted. Therefore, a total of 100  respondents were set as the sample size in this research. The respondent consists of 63% women and 28% are men. Out of 100 respondent 21% are students. Descriptive analysis and scale measurement carried out in the data analysis.

4      research findings

Respondents were given questionnaire with Likert scale measurement. Questionnaire was constructed into Schmitt’s 5 types of experience marketing (sense, feel, think, act, and relate). Visitors are questioned about what they sense through a series of museum facilities and collection. For the first indicator of sense visitors are questioned about their sense on signage, audio visuals, tour guide, uniform, diorama, collection display, information board, and the building itself.  Each part of the indicator has a certain score. Feedback or answer given by the respondent for each indicator is shown table 1.

Table 1.  Respondent feedback on “sense”

“Sense”  Indicators Score
Signage 1.97
Audio visual 3.57
Tour guide 3.67
Uniform 3.46
Diorama 2.58
Collection are well-displayed 2.52
Information boards layout 3.36
Do you think the museum building is beautiful? 2.43
Average 2.98

According table above, respondents’ “sense” about the museum is average (scale 1-5). It is considered being enough. It means what visitors see, touch and hear in museum somehow appeal to be satisfy them while visiting the museum. From the result findings it seemed that museum only lack on signage that supposed to directing visitors while experience the museum sequentially.

The module “feel” achieved average score as shown on table 2 below.

Table 2. Respondent feedback on “feel”

“Feel” indicators Score
Do you feel excited while watching movie aired by museum? 2.18
When you listening to tour guide, do you feel strong emotion about the museum? 2.25
Do you feel excited to see well-displayed museum collection? 2.11
Do you feel the ambience of Surabaya in the past when you are in the museum? 2.06
Average score 2.67

From the table above it can be seen the score 2.67 means less than adequate. It is arguably the museum unable to evoke visitors’ emotions either from the museum atmosphere or from a guided tour. Indeed the tour guide is the figure most able to influence the emotions of visitors, but seemingly the tour guide is not able to master the emotions of all members of the tour. This is an issue about how the tour guides explain or interpret the displayed museum collection. It is understandable that mostly the tour guides are volunteers from various backgrounds and many of them lacks of experience especially in interpretation. It is a necessary that the museum management should take serious attention in recruiting volunteer as tour guide.

Table 3.  Respondent feedback on “think”

“Think” indicators Score
Your experience while in the museum helps improving your knowledge 2.48
Your audio visual experience in the museum helps improving your knowledge 2.26
Tour guide helps improving your insight 2.06
The museum website is very informative 2.66
Explanation on information boards helps improving your knowledge 2.55
You can imagine the environment of the factory by seeing the diorama 2.32
You can travel back in time to  Asian African Conference when observing the building of House of Sampoerna 2.58
Average score 2.42

From the average score on table 3 above the museum seemed to be lack in delivering cognitive and problem-solving experiences that engage customers creatively. It seems that visitors less satisfied with their personal choice when asked to think about their experience while in the museum. According to Schmitt (1999), think experience creates customers’ creative thinking stimuli to form their own evaluation towards the company and its brand in this case the museum. It seems that the stimuli museum has created is not enough to trigger the curiosity of visitors to explore more the museum.

The fourth indicator in experiential marketing is “act”. This indicator used to measure the visitors physical behaviors, lifestyles, and interactions while experience the museum. The visitors result on “act” is shown on table 4.

Table 4.  Respondent feedback on “act”

“Act”  Indicators Score
You can use available computer for searching certain information 2.46
You watched the movie aired by the museum enthusiastically 1.94
The museum offered interesting tour package 2.14
Average score 2.18

The score above showed that visitors experiencing less interactive at museum. Although the museum offers a tour package, it seemed that package tour less enjoyable, the museum seemed “fail to improve” the visitor passive interactions. The facility and the programs offered by the museum seemed could not attract visitor to become more actively experience the atmosphere while at the museum.

The last indicator is “relate”. This measures the visitors’ desires to be part of a social context. This module represents visitor’s attachment to broader environment achieved by visiting the museum. The result from relate module is shown on table 5.

Table 5. Respondent feedback on “relate”

“Relate”  Indicators Score
By observing the building, makes you feel like to conserve it 2.22
Well-informed by the museum makes you interesting in developing it 2.03
Museum officer has motivated you to participate in developing museum 2.25
You are expecting the management of the museum provide a medium for history lovers 2.41
Average score 2.22

The feedback from “relate” represents the most typical museum visitors. Visiting museum to most visitors seemed like an ordinary visit. But it is understandable, that people value change from time to time. For example, students who visit museum value the interpretation differently than adults.

5      discussions and conclusions

This study provides insights for the museum to have an in-depth understanding towards the indicators (i.e.,  sense  experience,  feel experience,  think  experience,  act  experience,  and  relate  experience) that contributing to the experiential value with their visitors.  Furthermore the result enables the museum management in identifying relevant approaches to build strong experiential value with their visitors.

The result suggests the museum to improve sufficient resources such as competence interpreters for creating value added experience as mean to make a more enjoyable museum experience. Although the study finding provides some insights to the researchers, these findings should be put into a limitation.  This study was adopting accidental sampling technique method, thus the result should not be generalized to represent the perceived value the museum visitors experienced. It is recommended to adopt probability sampling method for future research.


6      References

(NAI), T. N. (n.d.). The National Association for Interpretation (NAI). Retrieved April 3, 2016, from Backyard nature:,content=440

Drummond, S. (2001). Critical success factors for the Organization. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Katam, S., & Abadi, L. (2005). Album Bandoeng Tempoe Doeloe. Surabaya: Nav Press Indonesia.

Lewis, W. J. (1994). Interpreting for park visitor .

Noakes, L. (1997). battlefield Tourism. Oxford: Berg .

Schmitt, B. (1999). Customer Experience Management. New York: The Free Press.

Schmitt, B. (1999). Experiental Marketing. Journal of Marketing Management , 53-67.

Seabroke, W., & Miles, C. W. (1993). Recreation Land Management. London: E&FN SPON.

Shackley, M. (Visitor Management: Case Studies from World Heritage Sites). 1998. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Sharpe, G. (1982). Interpreting The Environmnet. UK: Wiley.

Smilansky, S. (2009). Experential Marketing: a practical guide to interactive brand experiences. India: Replika Press.

Swarbrooke, J. (1995). The Development and Management of Visitor Attractions. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Tarekat, H. (2010, January 24). Sensitivitas Fungsi Baru Bangunan Bersejarah. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from History for Fun:

Tilden, F. (1997). Interpreting Our Heritage. USA: The University of North Carolina Press.

Timothy, D. J., & Boyd, S. W. (2003). Heritage Tourism. Essex: Pearson.

Trauer, B. (2006). Conceptualizing special interest tourism – frameworks for analysis . Tourism Management , 183-200.

Uzzel, D., & Ballantyne, R. (1998). Contemporary Issues in Heritage and Environmental Interpretation. London: The Stationary Office.

Veverka, J. A. (Interpretive Master Planning: The Essential Planning Guide for Interpretive). 1998. Tustin: Acom Naturalist .

Yale, P. (1991). From tourist attractions to heritage tourism. ELM Publications.

Noakes, L. (1997). Making histories: Experiencing the blitz in London’s museums in the 1990s. In:

A study of experience expectations of museum visitors