Consumer trust plays a key role in the development and maintenance of long-term relationships in the tourism sector. This study aims to examine the antecedents of trust in the local accommodation sector, which faced a disruptive period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also addresses the trust–loyalty relationship.
A survey was administered to a sample of rural accommodation tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic. A mixed-method approach was used to analyse data; in particular, a PLS-SEM approach was used, followed by a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA).
This study confirms and reinforces the importance of a positive influence of affective evaluation, reputation, perceived security and the destination image on perceived trust. It also demonstrates the impact of trust on loyalty. Using fsQCA, it was found that perceived security is a necessary condition to achieve perceived trust. However, there are multiple paths to achieving high trust.
This article provides a practical and theoretical contribution to this phenomenon during the pandemic crisis. This study concludes that implementing specific measures to increase perceived security (e.g. clean and safe seal) was critical to increase trust and loyalty.
Although the decrease in visits has had a significant impact on economic activities, the nature of the context, in particular the rural context, proved that the combination of agricultural activities with tourism services offering also revealed to be a promising complementary strategy to help owners and minimize the lack of visitors.
This study is one of the earliest to understand trust and its antecedents and trust loyalty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The authors would like to sincerely thank the editor (Prof. Serena Volo) for her constructive support and thanks the anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback.
Pinho, J.C., Nogueira, S. and Macedo, I. (2022), "A configurational approach to understanding trust in rural tourism accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis", Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/CBTH-03-2022-0058
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