The impact of positive and negative e-comments on business travelers’ intention to purchase a hotel room

Faranak Memarzadeh, Shane C. Blum, Charlie Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to find out the impact of business travelers’ behavioral belief on positive and negative e-comments, which consequently lead to intention to purchase a hotel room. To explore the relationships among attitude toward positive and negative e-comments with intention to purchase, the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) was used. Design/methodology/approach – Business travelers in the USA who read e-comments and made a hotel choice based on those e-comments within the past six months were targeted for this study. The TRA, as well as a wide-ranging review of literature, were used to develop the survey instrument. The survey was distributed through Qualtrics, which is an online questionnaire service platform. To measure the business travelers’ behavioral beliefs toward e-comments, a number of measures were developed for this research. The theories of Fishbein and Ajzen were used to examine business travelers’ behavioral beliefs toward positive and negative e-comments. All of the questions on this survey about the intention to purchase were extracted from Liao et al. Other questions about attitude toward positive and negative comments were adopted from Chu and Choi, Sparks and Browning, Gundersen et al. and Lee and Sparks. The last section of the survey included questions about business travelers’ sociodemographic statistics, such as ethnicity, level of income, age, gender and education. The first question separated respondents to recognize those who made a reservation at a business hotel in the past six months after reading comments about the hotel. Those who responded positively were asked to participate in the study. Participants of this research presented their degree of agreement on each item by using a seven-point Likert scale, rating from (1) “Strongly disagree” to (7) “Strongly agree”. To verify the reliability of the questionnaire and to ensure it reflected the TRA, a pilot study was conducted with a small group of business travelers who had booked a hotel room in the past six months and finalized their purchases based on reading e-comments. No major changes were made to the survey as a result of the pilot study and all factors indicated an adequate level of internal consistency. The proposed model examined the effects of both positive and negative e-comments toward business travelers’ intention to purchase. This research aimed to determine the impact of behavioral belief on positive e-comments and negative e-comments, which consequently lead to intention to purchase. Findings – The results of the proposed model revealed that behavioral belief positively affects both positive and negative e-comments. This means that business travelers want to be informed about both complaints and compliments in e-comments. However, this does not mean they intend to purchase a hotel room based on both opinions; rather business travelers would be inclined to purchase a hotel room based on positive e-comments. Using gender as a moderating effect indicated that females neither believe of the helpfulness of negative e-comments nor intend to purchase based on these e-comments. However, males tend to find both positive and negative e-comments helpful. Originality/value – The findings of this research will help hoteliers, as well as online website review operators, to obtain a clearer understanding of guests’ or users’ needs and wants in order to offer a more desirable service. Since business travelers are considered an important target market in the hotel industry, hoteliers need to put more emphasize on these factors to attract more business travelers. By recognizing business travelers’ requirements and their expectations, hoteliers should prioritize their responsibilities for meeting these guests’ expectations; therefore, they can assign their resources accordingly. In other words, once a guest’s needs are understood clearly, hoteliers will be in safe position to provide the desired service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-270
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 19 2015

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Keywords

  • Business travelers
  • Consumer behaviour
  • E-comments
  • Hotel room
  • Intention
  • Theory of reasoned action

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