Modeling consumer distrust of online hotel reviews [Summary]

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Virginia Tech

The online reviews literature has tended to focus on exploring perspectives such as the recipient’s attitude, reviews’ message-based factors, reviews’ trustworthiness, and hotel sales. But research fails to address the underlying processes of consumer distrust of online hotel reviews. Based on a rich stream of literature, this study offers a hierarchical-influence model of consumer distrust of online hotel reviews after a hotel service failure.The research model considers how consumers are influenced by two particular attributes of reviewers, how reviewers make attributions following a service failure, and the relational outcomes of distrust. After applying the model to hospitality consumers in China, we find that the reviewer attributes of fake identity and ulterior motivation directly influence distrust, which further leads to consumers’ psychological discomfort and engagement in negative electronic word-of-mouth. Surprisingly, psychological discomfort positively affects repeat purchase intentions. Service failure attribution positively moderates the relationship between reviewer attributes and distrust. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications of our study and close by acknowledging the research limitations. Future research directions to tourism and hospitality scholars are also provided.