CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Title

Toward an Understanding of Online Word-of-Mouth Message Content and the Booking Intentions of Lodging Consumers

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science (DISC)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Easwar Nyshadham

Committee Member

Laurie P Dringus

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which the message structure of an online word-of-mouth referral influences the booking intentions of lodging consumers. The objectives were (1) determine what elements of the message structure of an online word-of-mouth referral influenced the booking intention of lodging consumers and (2) determine whether message structure moderated the relationships between beliefs, attitudes, norms, and booking intentions of online lodging consumers. A Web-based survey instrument was administered to 158 undergraduate students from eight different hospitality management course sections. Each course section was exposed to one of eight conditions.

To address the first objective of the study, two separate two-way ANOVA procedures were employed to determine the main and interaction effects of type of claim (positive versus negative) and type of conclusion (implicit versus explicit) within one-sided messages and type of claim (positive claim first versus negative claim first) and type of conclusion (implicit versus explicit) within two-sided messages, the third element of the message structure examined was type of conclusion (explicit vs. implicit).To address the second objective, structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to determine whether message structure moderated the relationships between beliefs, attitudes, norms, and booking intentions of online lodging consumers

The findings from the ANOVA indicated there was a significant main effect for positive one-sided messages. Respondents that received only positive online word-of-mouth messages had significantly higher booking intention scores (M = 3.84, SD = 1.57) than respondents that received only negative online word-of-mouth messages (M = 2.63, SD = 1.61; F (1, 75) = 10.67, p = .002). There was no significant interaction for type of claim and type of conclusion within the one-sided condition, F (1, 75) = 0.66, p = .419.The findings from SEM analysis indicate sidedness would moderate the relationship between beliefs, attitudes, norms, and booking intentions of online lodging consumers. Specifically, the relationship between behavioral beliefs and normative beliefs was stronger in the sample of respondents exposed to the one-sided message (β = .52, p = .002) than in the sample of respondents exposed to the two-sided message (β = .31, p = .011). This study suggests that lodging companies could benefit from a human-centered approach to understanding online word-of-mouth message structure and thereby consumer information behavior.

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