The impact of online reviews on hotel booking intentions and perception of trust
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A growing reliance on the Internet as an information source when making choices about tourism products raises the need for more research into electronic word of mouth. Within a hotel context, this study explores the role of four key factors that influence perceptions of trust and consumer choice. An experimental design is used to investigate four independent variables: the target of the review (core or interpersonal); overall valence of a set of reviews (positive or negative); framing of reviews (what comes first: negative or positive information); and whether or not a consumer generated numerical rating is provided together with the written text. Consumers seem to be more influenced by early negative information, especially when the overall set of reviews is negative. However, positively framed information together with numerical rating details increases both booking intentions and consumer trust. The results suggest that consumers tend to rely on easy-to-process information, when evaluating a hotel based upon reviews. Higher levels of trust are also evident when a positively framed set of reviews focused on interpersonal service.
© 2011 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.