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Factors contributing to the helpfulness of online hotel reviews: Does manager response play a role?

Linchi Kwok (The Collins College of Hospitality Management, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, Pomona, California, USA)
Karen L. Xie (Daniels College of Business, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 10 October 2016

4992

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the factors contributing to the helpfulness of online hotel reviews and to measure the impact of manager response on the helpfulness of online hotel reviews.

Design/methodology/approach

This investigation used a linear regression model that drew upon 56,284 consumer reviews and 10,797 manager responses from 1,405 hotels on TripAdvisor.com for analysis.

Findings

The helpfulness of online hotel reviews is negatively affected by rating and number of sentences in a review, but positively affected by manager response and reviewer experience in terms of reviewer status, years of membership, and number of cities visited. Manager response moderates the influence of reviewer experience on the helpfulness of online hotel reviews.

Research limitations/implications

Using the data from hotels in five major cities in Texas, the results may not be necessarily generalized to other markets, but the important role that manager response plays in online reviews is assessed with big data analysis.

Practical implications

The results suggest hospitality managers should strategically identify opinion leaders among reviewers and proactively influence the helpfulness of the reviews by providing manager response. Additionally, this study makes recommendations to webmasters of social media platforms in terms of advancing the algorithm of featuring the most helpful online reviews.

Originality/value

This study is at the frontier of research to explain how hotel managers can proactively identify opinion leaders among consumers and use manager response to influence the helpfulness of consumer reviews. Additionally, the results also provide new insights to the influence of reviewer demographic background on the helpfulness of online reviews. Finally, this study analyzed a large data set on a scale that was not available in traditional guest survey studies, responding to the call for big data applications in the hospitality industry.

Keywords

Citation

Kwok, L. and Xie, K.L. (2016), "Factors contributing to the helpfulness of online hotel reviews: Does manager response play a role?", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 28 No. 10, pp. 2156-2177. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-03-2015-0107

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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