How do online reviewers’ cultural traits and perceived experience influence hotel online ratings?
Purpose: This study examines the role and influence of online reviewers’ cultural traits and perceived experience on online review ratings of Russian hotels by taking a direct measurement approach.
Design/methodology/approach: We adopt an Explanatory Sequential Research Design consisting of two stages. In the first stage, based on an a sample of almost 75,000 Booking.com online reviews covering hotels located in Moscow (Russia) we examine quantitatively to what extent the cultural traits of online reviewers and hotel guests’ perceived experience in online reviewing affect online ratings using also censored regressions. In the second stage, we interpret the results in light of semi-structured interviews conducted with a convenience sample of managers.
Findings: Each of the Hofstede’s cultural dimensions (namely individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and power distance) exerts a significantly negative influence on the hotel online ratings. More specifically, the higher the levels of individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and power distance, the lower hotel online ratings. Reviewers’ perceived experience in online reviewing is negatively related to online ratings.
Research limitations/implications: The findings bear relevant managerial implications for hotel managers and online platform managers in countries that are not typically covered by online consumer behavior studies in hospitality such as Russia. From a theoretical viewpoint, we contribute to cultural studies in hospitality management and marketing with a further development of the nascent research stream taking a direct measurement approach to the study of cultural influences on consumers’ behaviors. Furthermore, we contribute to a better understanding of the role of cultural traits on eWOM, as well as international market segmentation theory in online settings.
Practical implications: The analysis conducted helps managers in the hospitality sector as well as platform managers and software developers to make sense of multiple individual reviewers’ features including cultural traits, and perceived experience in online ratings.
Originality/value: The conjoint exploration of the effects of cultural differences and perceived experience in online reviewing adds to the nascent research stream taking a direct measurement approach to the study of the Hofstede’s cultural dimensions on online consumers’ behaviors. We make multiple theoretical and methodological contributions, highlighting that online hospitality customers cannot be considered as one homogeneous mass. Instead, the application of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions allows identifying distinctively different online behaviors across international online customers: different online customer groups can be clustered into segments as they display different online behaviors and give different online evaluations.