RESEARCH: Online hotel reviews don't sway customer opinion much

  • Shahin Sharifi (Participant)

Impact: Economy impacts

Description of impact

This research examined consumer reactions to positive, negative, and mixed reviews and found that people struggle to interpret and evaluate mixed review, that they do not trust negative reviews, and that they place the greatest importance on positive reviews. Findings revealed that consumer’s uncertainty intolerance increased the impact of positive and negative reviews and conversely decreased the influence of mixed reviews. This research concludes that these effects hold only when there is no satisfaction guarantee from a company. In the presence of “100% satisfaction guarantees,” mixed reviews were the most trusted, as a guarantee could signal that that positive pieces in a mixed review should be weighed more heavily than negative pieces.
This research was conducted in 2018 by Dr Shahin Sharifi, Department of Marketing, Macquarie University, providing economic impacts to beneficiaries from industry and social impact to consumers.
Showing that 100% satisfaction guarantee does not enhance prospective customers’ behavioural intentions as a function of positive, negative, and mixed review, this research provides managers with key economic and operational considerations: instead of expending their resources on customer satisfaction in the aftermath of a complaint, firms should enhance service quality and avoid such complaints.
Further, this research shows that prospective customers can be overly positive about reviews and tend to ignore negative ones. This shows a fundamental consumer bias and has key implications for consumers. In particular, unfavourable pieces of information should not be overlooked. Also, driven by their low uncertainty tolerance, consumers should not jump to relatively irrational conclusions.
Impact date29 Nov 2018
Category of impactEconomy impacts
Impact levelBenefit