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Conceptual mindsets and heuristics in credibility evaluation of e-Word of Mouth in tourism

Lluisa Llamero (Department of Communication Studies, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to find out how credibility judgements intervene in the consumption of electronic-Word of Mouth (e-WOM) in tourism, as there is discrepancy in the literature about its influence on decision-making processes.


A qualitative approach is explored, based on semi-structured interviews and observation through think-aloud protocol. This methodology provides fruitful insights as it focuses on the users’ browsing habits. The author interviewed a sample of professionals of tourism, cybertourists and bloggers.


Results reveal that only part of e-WOM is granted credibility. Therefore, its persuasiveness depends on those limited positive judgements. Travellers use a conceptual mindset and a series of cognitive heuristics (homophily, crowd consensus, etc.) to assess credibility. Formal knowledge background and social pressures have proven to be weak.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to a reduced sample of informants but their adjustment to the most typical profiles interviewed compensates this restriction. Another limitation is that data comes from a single cultural context (Spain), but on the other hand provides data that did not exist in the international literature on the topic.

Practical implications

Outcomes can help tourism managers to monitor key heuristics employed by end-users in webs of e-WOM and detect new trends of travelling habits.


The paper is original in that it establishes the rationalities behind the daily use of cognitive heuristics explored through different traveller's profiles.



Llamero, L. (2014), "Conceptual mindsets and heuristics in credibility evaluation of e-Word of Mouth in tourism", Online Information Review, Vol. 38 No. 7, pp. 954-968.



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