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Are pictures worth a thousand room nights? Success factors for hotel web site design

Betsy Bender Stringam (School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA)
John Gerdes Jr (College of Hospitality, Retail, & Sport Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 12 March 2010




Consumers as well as hotel web sites are evolving, changing the requirements and expectations for online hotel room reservations. Building on previous research, the purpose of this paper is to explore hotel web site design's influence on site appeal and likelihood to purchase.


The methodology incorporates both qualitative and quantitative methods. College‐age participants visited hotel web sites detailing their impressions. Using a grounded theory‐based approach and regression analysis, web design factors are identified and assessed.


The paper finds a preference for enhanced graphical web site design. This finding contradicts prior studies. The paper also finds continued importance in: ease of use, brand loyalty site content, and site aesthetics.

Research limitations/implications

This paper uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. The coding of qualitative data can be affected by researcher bias. This paper also suffers from an age and geographic population bias. While this paper suggests that certain factors influence the likelihood to purchase, more extensive definition of these factors is needed. In addition, several factors, which were important in previous studies, have incongruous findings in this paper and need further examination.

Practical implications

The results give direction to the design of effective hotel web sites.


Rapidly evolving internet technologies and consumer behavior generate a need for ongoing research to consumer behavior. A study with valid insight and information completed previously may not accurately reflect today's internet hotel market. The findings are significant: they suggest there has been a shift in consumer preferences.



Bender Stringam, B. and Gerdes, J. (2010), "Are pictures worth a thousand room nights? Success factors for hotel web site design", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 30-49.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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