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Artificial intelligence for hospitality big data analytics: developing a prediction model of restaurant review helpfulness for customer decision-making

Minwoo Lee (Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Wooseok Kwon (College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Sejong University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Ki-Joon Back (Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 10 June 2021

Issue publication date: 9 August 2021

3687

Abstract

Purpose

Big data analytics allows researchers and industry practitioners to extract hidden patterns or discover new information and knowledge from big data. Although artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the emerging big data analytics techniques, hospitality and tourism literature has shown minimal efforts to process and analyze big hospitality data through AI. Thus, this study aims to develop and compare prediction models for review helpfulness using machine learning (ML) algorithms to analyze big restaurant data.

Design/methodology/approach

The study analyzed 1,483,858 restaurant reviews collected from Yelp.com. After a thorough literature review, the study identified and added to the prediction model 4 attributes containing 11 key determinants of review helpfulness. Four ML algorithms, namely, multivariate linear regression, random forest, support vector machine regression and extreme gradient boosting (XGBoost), were used to find a better prediction model for customer decision-making.

Findings

By comparing the performance metrics, the current study found that XGBoost was the best model to predict review helpfulness among selected popular ML algorithms. Results revealed that attributes regarding a reviewer’s credibility were fundamental factors determining a review’s helpfulness. Review helpfulness even valued credibility over ratings or linguistic contents such as sentiment and subjectivity.

Practical implications

The current study helps restaurant operators to attract customers by predicting review helpfulness through ML-based predictive modeling and presenting potential helpful reviews based on critical attributes including review, reviewer, restaurant and linguistic content. Using AI, online review platforms and restaurant websites can enhance customers’ attitude and purchase decision-making by reducing information overload and search cost and highlighting the most crucial review helpfulness features and user-friendly automated search results.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the current study is the first to develop a prediction model of review helpfulness and reveal essential factors for helpful reviews. Furthermore, the study presents a state-of-the-art ML model that surpasses the conventional models’ prediction accuracy. The findings will improve practitioners’ marketing strategies by focusing on factors that influence customers’ decision-making.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, M., Kwon, W. and Back, K.-J. (2021), "Artificial intelligence for hospitality big data analytics: developing a prediction model of restaurant review helpfulness for customer decision-making", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 2117-2136. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2020-0587

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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