Choosing between hotels: impact of bimodal rating summary statistics and maximizing behavioral tendency

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Abstract

Rating summary statistics are basic aggregations that reflect users’ assessments of experienced products and services in numerical form. Thus far, scholars primarily investigated textual reviews, but dedicated considerably less time and effort exploring the potential impact of plain rating summary statistics on people’s choice behavior. Notwithstanding their fundamental nature, however, rating summary statistics also are relevant to electronic commerce in general, and to e-tourism in particular. In this work, we attempted to fill this void, by exploring the effects of different types of rating attributes (the mean rating value, the overall number of ratings, and the bimodality of rating distributions) on hotel choice behavior. We also investigated whether individual differences in the cause of people’s maximizing behavioral tendency moderated the effect of rating summary statistics on hotel choice behavior. Results of an eye-tracked conjoint experiment show that people’s high or low on decision difficulty as the cause of maximization determined whether and how rating summary statistics have an impact on the choice between hotels. Implications for the tourism and hospitality domain are addressed.

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Coba, L., Rook, L., & Zanker, M. (2020). Choosing between hotels: impact of bimodal rating summary statistics and maximizing behavioral tendency. Information Technology and Tourism, 22(1), 167–186. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40558-019-00156-z

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