Modeling consumer distrust of online hotel reviews

Wasim Ahmad, Jin Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The online reviews literature has tended to focus on exploring perspectives such as the recipient’s attitude,
reviews’ message-based factors, reviews’ trustworthiness, and hotel sales. But research fails to address the un-
derlying processes of consumer distrust of online hotel reviews. Based on a rich stream of literature, this study
offers a hierarchical-influence model of consumer distrust of online hotel reviews after a hotel service failure.
The research model considers how consumers are influenced by two particular attributes of reviewers, how
reviewers make attributions following a service failure, and the relational outcomes of distrust. After applying
the model to hospitality consumers in China, we find that the reviewer attributes of fake identity and ulterior
motivation directly influence distrust, which further leads to consumers’ psychological discomfort and en-
gagement in negative electronic word-of-mouth. Surprisingly, psychological discomfort positively affects repeat
purchase intentions. Service failure attribution positively moderates the relationship between reviewer attri-
butes and distrust. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications of our study and close by acknowl-
edging the research limitations. Future research directions to tourism and hospitality scholars are also provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-90
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Early online date22 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


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