Electronic Word of Mouth : Managing online guest reviews in the hospitality industry

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Institutionen för ekonomi och företagande

Abstract:

This thesis aims to look closer upon how hotels manage electronic Word of Mouth and suggests potential strategies. Focus is being put on online guest reviews and the researchintends to study the impact of online reviews in the hospitality industry as well as defining the possibilities and challenges. The aim is not to make generalizations for the entire industry, but to be a suggestion for how to manage online reviews. Case studies have been performed withsix different hotels with different characteristics, to be able to answer the research questions. In order to provide an understanding of the topic, theories concerning e-Word of Mouth marketing, has been chosen. The traditional Word of Mouth and electronic Word of Mouth isdefined and the possibilities/challenges are explained. Theories on management of online reviews are also presented in the thesis. The empirical research has shown that e-Word of Mouth is still a new phenomenon in the hospitality industry. However most respondents agree on the influence of online recommendations which make it important to monitor and track them. The main possibility of managing online reviews is the chance of increased revenues and the ability to create brand awareness. It helps hotels to understand the needs of their customers. However challenges of sincerity and the big amount of information that is needed to control, are problematic. The research has shown that only few respondents work actively with some type of e-Word of Mouth. These results have provided the thesis with suggestions on management of online reviews.

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