How Power Distance Affects Online Hotel Ratings: The Positive Moderating Roles of Hotel Chain and Reviewers¡¯ Travel Experience

Author:  GAO Baojun£¨Department of Management Science and Engineering£©, Li X., Liu S*., Fang D.
Publication:  Tourism Management, 65 (2018), 176-186
Abstract:  This study investigates the collective influences of cultural, hotel, and reviewer characteristics on online ratings in the hotel sector. Based on over 243,000 TripAdvisor reviews for hotels in 24 US cities, we empirically find a negative relationship between the reviewers¡¯ power distance and their online hotel ratings, thereby indicating that cultural factor plays a significant role in the customers¡¯ online rating behavior. The negative effect of power distance on online hotel ratings is weaker for chained hotels than for independent hotels. This negative effect is also weaker for reviewers with more travel experience than for those with less travel experience. The robustness check demonstrates that these findings are applicable for ratings on product features that involve staff interactions, such as service, value, rooms, and cleanliness.

Key words: online rating, TripAdvisor, hotel, power distance, hotel chain, reviewer travel experience, multidimensional rating