Understanding the relationships between distances and herd behavior in online reviews: the moderating effects of hospitality experience

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Vasyl Taras, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Purpose: This study aims to investigate the determinants of herd behavior in online hotel service evaluations, focusing on the cultural and geographic distance characteristics of customers. Design/methodology/approach: On the basis of 381,462 TripAdvisor reviews of hotels in the USA written by more than 100,000 customers from 92 countries, this study uses the empirical analysis to explore the collective roles of cultural distance, geographic distance and hospitality experience on herd behavior in online hotel ratings. Findings: Cultural and geographic distances between customers and product and service locations positively affect herding and these two effects are substitutable. The hospitality experience of customers attenuates the impacts of distances on herding. These results are robust for multiple hotel service ratings. Practical implications: Findings help hotels understand perceptual biases of customers on hotel services under the social influence and consequently develop effective marketing strategies to boost hotel revenues and increase profitability. Originality/value: The research contributes to hospitality and online review literature by understanding how cultural and geographic distances shape online hotel service evaluations under the root of the uncertainty of decision-making and the observation of others’ behavior. The research also contributes to the distances in international business literature by deepening the understanding of the substitution and heterogeneity of distance effects. Methodologically, a time-varying and monotonously increasing variable is constructed to depict customers’ hospitality experience. The extensive data volume ensures the generalizability of our results.

Additional Information

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(10), 3295-3314. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-02-2020-0134
Language: English
Date: 2020
cultural distance, online reviews, herd behavior, geographic distance, hospitality experience

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