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Analyzing key influences of tourists’ acceptance of online reviews in travel decisions

Alain Yee Loong Chong (Nottingham University Business School China, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China)
Kok Wei Khong (Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham Malaysian Campus, Semenyih, Malaysia)
Teng Ma (Nottingham University Business School China, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China)
Scott McCabe (Nottingham University Business School China, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
Yi Wang (Nottingham University Business School China, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 4 June 2018

3194

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine what influence travelers’ adoption of online reviews, and whether the online reviews will influence their travel planning decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 193 respondents from eWOM websites and analyzed using structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results revealed that eWOM has a significant influence on travel decisions. Furthermore, travelers were willing to adopt information from eWOM and this information was useful in their travel planning and decisions. Gender and time spent on online reviews were found to affect travel planning and decisions. Travelers also found that the reviews and issues raised in eWOM had credibility and were of good quality.

Research limitations/implications

The study was not able to incorporate all factors which may be relevant to this study and so further theoretical development may be necessary to develop the conceptual model. The sample size, while adequate, can be expanded further.

Practical implications

Operators and administrators of eWOM can use these findings to develop more user-friendly interfaces so that more positive reviews and sales can be generated.

Social implications

The results showed that travelers who adopt the information in eWOM will, in turn, use eWOM in their travel planning. This confirms the importance of eWOM and travelers in general will translate their pre-travel decisions into actual travel planning.

Originality/value

This research extended existing eWOM and information system adoption studies and focused on the travel planning context. This research validated the significant roles of eWOM argument quality and credibility in predicting the information usefulness of eWOM.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC Grant No. 71402076), International Doctoral Innovation Center, Ningbo Education Bureau and the University of Nottingham.

Citation

Chong, A.Y.L., Khong, K.W., Ma, T., McCabe, S. and Wang, Y. (2018), "Analyzing key influences of tourists’ acceptance of online reviews in travel decisions", Internet Research, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 564-586. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-05-2017-0212

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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