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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference


Published: May 25, 2021


Saleh Shuqair, NOVA Information Management School; Rita Alves, NOVA IMS; Diego Costa Pinto, NOVA Information Management School; Anna Mattila, School of Hospitality Management, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA


Evidence indicates that consumers have a higher tendency to purchase or pay more for items that have been in touch with or "socially contaminated" by celebrities or attractive people. The current research investigates the important, but not yet examined, social contagion effect of influencers in the tourism context. Four studies (1 field observation and 3 controlled experiments) demonstrate that social media influencers' authenticity (high vs. low) leads to greater positive outcomes and that social contagion underlies these effects. Further, we extend the social contagion literature beyond its current focus on objects to experiences. By drawing on the experiential (vs. material) purchases literature, we demonstrate that experiential posts (e.g., travel experiences) are more influential in driving behavioral intentions compared to material posts (e.g., products).