|Wan, Sze Mei Selina
|The impact of online reviews on pre-visit destination image and responses
|Law, Rob (SHTM)
|Tourism -- Marketing.
Tourism -- Computer network resources.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
|School of Hotel and Tourism Management
|ix, 181 pages : color illustrations
|Destination Management Organization (DMO) has been entrusting the role of promoting destination image and attracting travelers to visit the destination. With the rapid growth of using online reviews as a source of information for trip planning, the impact of this user-generated content (UGC) on visitor behavior is still unknown to most DMOs. The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of DMO website and online reviews in the perception of pre-visit destination image and visitor responses. More specifically, review valence (predominately positive reviews or predominately negative reviews) was used as an independent variable in the laboratory experiment to examine to what extent, if any, the review valence changes visitor's pre-visit destination image, and their cognitive, affective and conative response as projected by the DMO website. A qualitative approach of thought-listing technique was applied to explore the destination-related, website-related, and review-related thoughts from respondents. The results showed that destination image was generally worse when visitors surfing the DMO website and reading online reviews together, than when clicking through the DMO website only. Negativity effect is strong in all visitor responses under the predominately negative review condition. That means respondents have significantly decreased their perceived knowledge about the destination (cognitive response), their desire for travel (affective response), and their intention to visit or to recommend the place to others (conative response) after reading the predominantly negative review set. While the predominantly positive review has significantly increased cognitive response and conative response towards the destination, it was ineffective in provoking an affective response. It is expected that the current study can add knowledge to the tourism literature as few studies have investigated the impact of online reviews on the destination image and visitor responses, in particular for those travelers who have checked the DMO website before. The theoretical contribution and managerial implication of this effect were discussed at the end of this study.
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