Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role that food and beverage (F&B) sensory stimuli play in building non-food-themed touristic experiences, such as wellness tourism experiences. Design/methodology/approach This paper adopts an asynchronous netnographic approach supported by software (T-Lab, 2021). The study was conducted on a database consisting of 3,141 reviews in English, left by customers of 38 wellness facilities (Spa Retreats) spread across 5 continents. Findings The analysis reveals that F&B stimuli contribute significantly to the tourist's perception of the wellness experience in a two-fold manner: on the one hand, they support the wellness experience, and on the other, through specific proposals (e.g. wine, vegan, detox, etc.), they qualify and differentiate the wellness experience in a hedonic rather than eudaimonic way. Research limitations/implications The present study contributes to managerial literature on the topic of gastronomic tourism and wellness tourism by providing, on an international scale, empirical evidence of (a) the importance and role of F&B touchpoints in hybrid gastronomic experiences; and (b) the presence of a variety of "wellness experiencescapes". Originality/value This study is the first attempt to measure the role of F&B in tourists' perceptions of non-food-themed experiences. The research not only provides new data on the wellness experience through a cross-continental analysis but also offers useful theoretical and managerial insights for the design of wellness tourism experiences.
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