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The influencing role of social media in the consumer’s hotel decision-making process

Vikas Gupta (Amity School of Hospitality, Amity University, Noida, India)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 12 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to evaluate the role of social media on the hotel decision-making process of consumers during the evaluation stage of searching, identifying the alternatives and selecting a hotel in India. It will help the stakeholders in the hotel industry of India to make the social media platform more efficient for consumers by providing inputs on the factors consumers consider while making online hotel purchase.

Design/methodology/approach

This study involves an exploratory qualitative approach which includes 32 face-to-face, semi-structured, in-depth individual interviews with the social media platform users. The selection of interviewees for this study has been done on the basis of a non-random purposive sampling approach.

Findings

The findings reveal that social media plays an important role in affecting the way consumers search, decide and book hotels. It also suggests that social media helps consumers in collecting information about products and services, assessing alternatives and making their choices. It confirms that while negative facets exist, the positive benefits outweigh the negative aspects of using social media when selecting a hotel. The results also reveal the impact of circumstantial influence related to social media on hotel selection, on the basis of content source and the level of trust and accuracy in the content.

Practical implications

This study has some strategic implications for hospitality marketing and management related to a better understanding of the influence of social media on the hotel customer decision-making process. The study shows that a variety of social media with associated content sources and levels add to the complexity of hotel-related information search and decision behaviour.

Originality/value

The study makes a contribution by addressing the existing gaps and bridging the arena of consumer behaviour and social media literature in a hotel context and sheds light on how consumer decisions while selecting a hotel are influenced through social media. The core contribution is the generation of factors through in-depth interviews which are based on real-life scenarios relating to the influence of social media on hotel decision-making.

Keywords

Citation

Gupta, V. (2019), "The influencing role of social media in the consumer’s hotel decision-making process", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 378-391. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-04-2019-0019

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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