Three Essays in Hospitality and Tourism Communication

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Communication is a critical component of firm success. Modern day companies, including those from the domain of hospitality and tourism, go to great lengths to gain a competitive advantage through effective communication. It is not only communication within the organization that is important. Instead, effective corporate communication entails effective messaging and information flow across all stakeholders. This dissertation investigates three distinct types of communication that are very relevant to hospitality and tourism firms - online reviews, marketing promotions and product placements.

Chapter 1 provides a brief overview of corporate communication and outlines the central objectives of the research conducted as part of the dissertation. Chapter 2 uses an approach from behavioral economics to detect certain biases that afflict online reviews. Specifically, the paper uncovers the extent to which the seminal prospect theory principles of loss aversion and diminishing sensitivity afflict the sentiment expressed in online reviews.

Chapter 3 of the dissertation explores the effect of marketing promotions by hotels. Promotions are frequently deployed by hospitality industry managers in an attempt to augment revenues during times when excess capacity may be anticipated. While prior research indeed finds beneficial impacts of these promotions, the present study shows that when finance-based are used to measure performance, promotions may in fact be detrimental. Relevant implications, especially for compensation design are outlined.

Chapter 4 uses the event study methodology to quantify the effect of product placements by hospitality firms in film and television. This form of advertising has become increasingly common today, but not much is known about the extent to which placements help firm performance. The findings show that placements provide a significant performance boost, although variables like genre and parental advisory rating are found to influence this effect.

The closing chapter, chapter 5, outlines the primary contributions of the dissertation, highlights the most important implications that follow from the research, while also acknowledging certain limitations that must be kept in mind when drawing any conclusions from this work.