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EMAC 2022 Annual

Through the storm: Mapping Customer – Management Expectations, Interactions, and Interpretations of a social media storm in tourism

Published: May 24, 2022


Konstantinos Rigopoulos, Democritus University of Thrace, Department of Economic Sciences; Konstantinos Kottikas, Prague University of Economics and Business; Pernille Rydén, IT University of Copenhagen; Efthymia Kottika, Prague University of Economics and Business; Ioannis G. Theodorakis, Paris School of Business


When a social media storm occurs, several interpretations emerge in the aftermath as to the reasons why it occurred, why it escalated, and how it should have been handled. Indeed, communications teams in tourism tend to believe that they acquire valuable lessons upon weathering a crisis. Nonetheless, the conclusions they draw on how to handle a social media storm may be out of sync with customers’ expectations on how this storm should have been managed successfully. In such a case of expectation gap, tourism companies reside on false assumptions regarding the proper way of managing future social media storms. We use a simulation game to explore the different assumptions, and the interpretations, between communications teams and customers engaged in the same social media storm. The findings highlight the significance of building trust and aligning expectations between customers and hotels as the main driver for successful management of social media storms.