Barbara Neuhofer


“Unlocking the journey of being human through experience design”

My name is Barbara Neuhofer. I research, speak and write on experience design for human transformation.

I am a Professor of Experience Design and Head of Experience Design at the Department of Innovation and Management in Tourism at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Austria. I am the co-founder of the Experience Design Summit Year Zero.



My full story:

My name is Barbara Neuhofer. I research, speak and write on experience design for human transformation and share my work with the world as an educator, speaker, consultant, and experience designer.

I currently work as a Professor of Experience Design and Head of the Experience Design Centre at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Austria. I am also a visiting lecturer several international universities, including the IMC Krems, Austria, the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and the IULM University, Italy. 

In my more than 10 years experience as an educator, I have had the honour to teach at universities all around the world, all the way from Austria to Australia. I have worked as a Lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality Management and MSc Hospitality Programmes Leader at Bournemouth University, UK. I have been teaching and invited for guest lectures at the University of Surrey, UK, Edinburgh Napier University, UK, University of Alicante, Spain,  Vistula University Warsaw, Poland, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland, IULM University, Italy, University of Bolzano, Italy, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, MODUL University, Austria, IMC Krems, Austria, the University of Innsbruck, Austria, the University of California Berkeley, USA, and the University of South Australia, Australia.

My journey has started in Austria, which is where I am now, back to my roots. I have grown up on the countryside of Salzburg, the heart of Austria and birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Since I was little I have been fascinated by different cultures,  languages and foreign experiences, which led me to study and acquire a diploma in tourism management at the Tourism Schools Salzburg. Every summer, I took the opportunity gather hospitality and tourism work experience in Italy and Switzerland. My path then led me to  the UK, where I studied tourism management and graduated with a BA (Hons) in Travel and Tourism Management & Public Relations and later, an MA in Tourism Management from the University of Derby. This was followed by a PhD in Services Marketing and Management from Bournemouth University, and a PGCert in Higher Education Practice from Bournemouth University.

Researching. My research focuses on experience design and transformation design. I research, write and speak about how we can use experience design as a mindset and toolset to intentionally design experiences that elevate our human consciousness and bring transformation to our personal lives, workplaces and ecosystems.

I have published over 40 academic journal articles, book chapters and conference papers based on my scientific research in the disciplines of marketing, services marketing, management, digital transformation and tourism. With my research I have advanced the understanding of customer experiences, value co-creation, the use of digital technologies in tourism experiences, the development of smart tourism initiatives.

Speaking. I have the honour to share my personal journey of transformation, scientific insights from research and foresight of the trends on experience design as a speaker. I am frequently invited as a keynote speaker and have shared my research at over 60 scientific conferences, global industry summits and business events around the globe.

In 2019, I have co-created a unique talk-experience at the intersection of science and arts with an extraordinary team at TEDxBucharest. Our TEDx Talk “The Global State of Awe” is an experience that gives insight into the awe-inspiring and transformative event that astronauts experience when looking at Earth from space, known as the overview effect. Through the lens of experience design, we explored through a guided auditory-immersive experience, whether it is possible to produce the same effect here on Planet Earth.

EXD Summit. One of my passions is to channel my creativity into co-creation projects and own creations. In 2020, I have co-founded the award-winning Experience Design Summit Year Zero, supported by my co-founder and a wonderful team of student volunteers who joined forces to pioneer the first edition of the Summit. The EXD Summit is an un-conference that bridges science and arts. Its aim is to create a time-space that brings together an international community of experiences designers to learn through experience inspirational EXD talks and guided EXD experiences to unlock human potential and guide transformational experiences in own’s personal and professional life.

Consulting. To help bring more experiences into the world, I help share my 10+ years experience in the experience design field with selected companies and organisations through consulting and advisory. I guide co-creation workshops, processes and trainings to transform existing services into experiences, design new experiences and transformational concepts, and help implement them in practice through a mix of well-known design thinking tools and my own B.Experience Methodology

As a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitator, I offer my toolbox of methods with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® to help teams step into an intuitive, creative and rapid prototyping mind-space to design for experiences and transformations.

Awards. It’s been an honour that my work has been recognised with more than 20 international prizes and awards to date. During my PhD journey, I have received the prestigious ITT PhD Student of the Year 2013 Award at the House of Commons, the British Parliament, and was selected as one of the 15 world’s best PhD students in the management discipline at the International PhD Student Competition 2013.

Since then, I have won several best paper awards, including the Electronic Markets Paper of the Year 2016 Award for her journal article ‘Smart  Technologies for personalized experiences: a case study in the hospitality domain’, the Services Industries Journal Paper of the Year 2019 Award, the 2nd Best Research Paper Award at the ENTER Conference 2020 and the Best Paper Award at THE INC Conference 2020.

For my innovations and excellence in teaching, I have received several teaching awards, including two years in a row (2015, 2016) the ‘You’re Brilliant Award’ at Bournemouth University, and the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ for her Postgraduate Certificate in Education Practice. I was also the youngest person to be ever awarded the FH-Professor title at the Salzburg University University of Applied Sciences.

In 2021, the Experience Design Summit was awarded the 2nd Place CONVENTA Best Event Award 2020 Category Crossover, which is one of Europe oldest awards for the meetings and events industry.

Community Service to the World.  I help and support international organisations through my service as a reviewer and advisor on international executive boards and committees.I am currently serving the World Experience Organisation (WXO) as a Founding Circle Member (since 2021), and the Experience Research Society (EXPRESSO) as an Executive Committee Member (since 2021). 

I have served on the Board of Directors of the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT), as Treasurer and Director of IFITT Next Generation from 2013-2017. As youngest ever-elected board member, I co-founded the IFITT Next Generation and the IFITT Doctoral Summer School, aiming to unite the young generation of emerging scholars in the global eTourism community. 

I have organised and chaired several international conferences, including the IFITT Doctoral Summer School 2013 and the Digital Work Life Balance: Going off the Grid Event 2016 at Bournemouth University, UK. I was the chair of the IFITT Doctoral Summer School 2017 in Salzburg, Austria and co-chair of the ISCONTOUR 2018 Conference in Krems, Austria. 

Being part of the international scientific community, I serve as a reviewer for more than 50 international scientific journals and conference committees, and serve as a member of the Editorial Board of four academic journals.

On the website you will find more information about Barbara’s research, publications, teaching as well as professional engagement activities and latest news on the blog. Connect with Barbara via social media: TwitterAcademia, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+.

TEDx Talk ‘The Global State of Awe’ at TEDxBucharest 2019
by Barbara Neuhofer  and Paul Bulencea