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Are environmental-related online reviews more helpful? A big data analytics approach

Marcello Mariani (Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)
Matteo Borghi (University of Reading, Reading, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 8 February 2021

Issue publication date: 9 August 2021




Based on more than 2.7 million online reviews (ORs) collected with big data analytical techniques from and, this paper aims to explore if and to what extent environmental discourse embedded in ORs has an impact on electronic word-of-mouth (e-WOM) helpfulness across eight major destination cities in North America and Europe.


This study gathered, by means of Big Data techniques, 2.7 million ORs hosted on and TripAdvisor, and covering hospitality services in eight different destinations cities in North America (New York City, Miami, Orlando and Las Vegas) and Europe (Barcelona, London, Paris and Rome) over the period 2017–2018. The ORs were analysed by means of ad hoc content analytic dictionaries to identify the presence and depth of the environmental discourse included in each OR. A negative binomial regression analysis was used to measure the impact of the presence/depth of online environmental discourse in ORs on e-WOM helpfulness.


The findings indicate that the environmental discourse presence and depth influence positively e-WOM helpfulness. More specifically those travelers who write explicitly about environmental topics in their ORs are more likely to produce ORs that are voted as helpful by other consumers.

Research limitations/implications

Implications highlight that both hotel managers and platform developers/managers should become increasingly aware of the importance that customer attach to environmental practices and initiatives and therefore engage more assiduously in environmental initiatives, if their objective is to improve online review helpfulness for other customers reading the focal reviews. Future studies might include more destinations and other operationalizations of environmental discourse.


This study constitutes the first attempt to capture how the presence and depth of hospitality services consumers’ environmental discourse influence e-WOM helpfulness on multiple digital platforms, by means of a big data analysis on a large sample of online reviews across multiple countries and destinations. As such it makes a relevant contribution to the area at the intersection between big data analytics, e-WOM and sustainable tourism research.



Mariani, M. and Borghi, M. (2021), "Are environmental-related online reviews more helpful? A big data analytics approach", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 2065-2090.



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