“There was a cockroach in my room”: An analysis of customer feedback on hotel booking websites as an example of co-creation of meaning

Petra Bouvain, Matthias Muskat, Birgit Muskat

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Paperpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction The tourism industry has undergone fundamental changes in the way that customers obtain information and the way that they book their holidays. Providing information about destinations, flights and hotels via the Internet is now considered standard practice. Most hotels have a website that promotes their property and provides information about the amenities that are offered, in most cases augmented by the display of photos, downloadable brochures and videos. The accommodation providers range from multinationals to SMEs and micro businesses. Branding and reputation can be considered a key resource for SMEs (Abimbola & Kocak, 2007). Most hotel sites offer customers also the possibility to book online and to communicate via email. Customers have relied in their decision making on the reputation of the hotel brand, on the information that hotels provide and some reviews that may have been undertaken by third parties such as travel guidebooks like the Michelin guide books or Lonely Planet. Purpose of the Paper The paper shows how the emergence of Web2.0 has changed the nature of the interaction between hotels and consumers and explores how word of mouth is amplified via new intermediaries. Consumers are now able to not only communicate via email with tourism providers but are able to share views and experiences with other consumers via Twitter and Facebook. Consumers now trust their peers more than they do trust the information provided by corporations. The increasing amount of user-generated content in marketing websites changes the way that decisions are made and in this context the impact of trust buyer-seller relationship has been discussed in marketing as well as in organisational studies (Chang & Chen, 2008; Ganesan & Hess, 1997; Kim, Chung, & Lee, 2010; Morgan & Hunt, 1994; Zhu & Zhang, 2010). The expectation of customers is that information provided by peers is more trustworthy. A study by Forrester Research showed that reviews/ratings are considered to have the highest share of influence (32%) followed by discussion forums (29%), blog comments (24%) and blog posts (16%). Facebook is considered to have the highest share of influence (62%) of all social networking sites (Forrester Research, 2010). Word of mouth has long been considered one of the most trusted sources of information and marketers in the hospitality and tourism management sector are looking at strategies to manage and influence user-generated content social media as part of integrated marketing communication strategies (Litvin, Goldsmith, & Pan, 2008; McConnell & Huba, 2007; Xiang & Gretzel, 2010).
Original languageEnglish
Pages1-4
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event7th Global Brand Conference of the Academy of Marketing‘s SIG in Brand, Identity and Corporate Reputation - Said Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Apr 20117 Apr 2011

Conference

Conference7th Global Brand Conference of the Academy of Marketing‘s SIG in Brand, Identity and Corporate Reputation
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityOxford
Period5/04/117/04/11

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