Friendship on social networking sites: Improving relationships between hotel brands and consumers

Na Su, Babu John Mariadoss, Dennis Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The paper explores the utility of social networking sites (SNSs) in developing intimate brand–consumer relationships and analyzes how hotel brands can utilize the mechanisms that underlie SNSs for marketing purposes. Drawing on theories from the interpersonal relationship literature, we identify four communication characteristics as critical drivers of friendship between hotel brands and consumers in the context of SNSs: self-disclosure, language similarity, interest similarity, and frequency of interaction with consumers (interaction frequency). In a study using a sample of 226 consumers who had followed hotel brands on SNSs, we show that self-disclosure and interaction frequency positively relate to consumers’ perceived friendships with a hotel brand. Although language similarity and interest similarity do not facilitate friendship directly, they influence brand–consumer relationships through self-congruity. The research provides hotel brand managers with implementable strategies for improving brand–consumer relationships through SNSs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76--86
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2015

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