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Publication Date

2019

Abstract

Travelers can easily refer to online reviews as a source of advice before booking a hotel; however, online reviews are not structured which make gathering useful information uneasy. What if online review sites can prioritize and direct the reviews that are most relevant to the customers and save them a lot of time? The value and usefulness of reviews are affected by the reviewers’ background. This study investigated whether customers tend to value the reviews written by similar people more than those written by dissimilar people. The first experiment showed that positive reviews increased consumers’ intention to book a hotel, negative reviews decreased bookings, and consumers were more affected by the reviews written by similar people. When demographics about reviewers are not available, customers will focus on other traits of the reviewer, such as preferences. The second experiment added shared preference between consumers and reviewers as another basis of similarity. Customers relied on reviewers’ preferences a clue of similarity when demographic similarity was not presented, and vice versa. Online reviews offer a good chance for managers to know their customers. Online review sites should use this information to form better strategies. The researchers showed that more relevant reviews can be displayed to customers by matching people’s demographics or preferences.

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