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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference


“Dear Monica, thank you for your review” – The Impact of Hotel Responses to Online Reviews
(A2019-8072)

Published: May 28, 2019

AUTHORS

Pia Furchheim, ZHAW School of Management and Law; Steffen Müller, ZHAW School of Management and Law; Claudio Sponagel, JEFF Zürich GmbH; Anja Collenberg, ZHAW School of Management and Law

KEYWORDS

Online Reviews; Service Recovery; Responses

ABSTRACT

Online reviews have proliferated in recent years. For hotels and restaurants, TripAdvisor has become the most important platform, and many consumers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. Therefore, many hotels and restaurants have started to reply to online reviews. However, prior research reports mixed results on the effectiveness of a reply, and little is known about how to design a reply. We fill this gap and conduct an online experiment with four response scenarios (no reply, defensive reply, friendly reply, professional reply). We show that the effect of the reply on booking intention is mediated by trust, and that the friendly reply is the best option – especially when the perceived service failure severity is high. We give relevant recommendations to managers of hotels and restaurants based and suggest areas for further research.