The experiential nature of travel and tourism services has popularized the importance of electronic word-of-mouth (EWOM) among potential customers. EWOM has a significant influence on hotel booking intention of customers as they tend to trust EWOM more than the messages spread by marketers. Amid abundant reviews available online, it becomes difficult for travelers to identify the most significant ones. This questions the credibility of reviewers as various online businesses allow reviewers to post their feedback using nickname or email address rather than using real name, photo or other personal information. Therefore, this study aims to determine the factors leading to reviewer credibility.
The paper proposes an econometric model to determine the variables that affect the reviewer’s credibility in the hospitality and tourism sector. The proposed model uses quantifiable variables of reviewers and reviews to estimate reviewer credibility, defined in terms of proportion of number of helpful votes received by a reviewer to the number of total reviews written by him. This covers both aspects of source credibility i.e. trustworthiness and expertness. The authors have used the data set of TripAdvisor.com to validate the models.
Regression analysis significantly validated the econometric models proposed here. To check the predictive efficiency of the models, predictive modeling using five commonly used classifiers such as random forest (RF), linear discriminant analysis, k-nearest neighbor, decision tree and support vector machine is performed. RF gave the best accuracy for the overall model.
The findings of this research paper suggest various implications for hoteliers and managers to help retain credible reviewers in the online travel community. This will help them to achieve long term relationships with the clients and increase their trust in the brand.
To the best of authors’ knowledge, this study performs an econometric modeling approach to find determinants of reviewer credibility, not conducted in previous studies. Moreover, the study contracts from earlier works by considering it to be an endogenous variable, rather than an exogenous one.
Sharma, H. and Aggarwal, A.G. (2019), "What factors determine reviewer credibility? An econometric approach validated through predictive modeling", Kybernetes, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-08-2019-0537Download as .RIS
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