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Managing negative electronic word of mouth: a study of British hotels

Tawat, Saleh (2015) Managing negative electronic word of mouth: a study of British hotels. Masters thesis (MPhil), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that electronic word of mouth (eWOM) has a great impact on customers’ behaviour and consequently businesses’s success (Vermeulen and Seegers, 2009, Kandampully, 2008). Negative eWOM is particularly critical, as information seekers give it more attention (Lee et al., 2008). This in turn has led to an increasing interest in this phenomenon aiming to understand the problem and offer the solutions (Chen and Xie, 2008, Chen and Xie, 2005). Nonetheless, most of the studies have focused on customers’ perspective in particular forgetting that what negative eWOM is, how it affects businesses and how it should be handled are parts of the sellers’ reality. Therefore, using hospitality industry as a context and customer reviews (CR) as a terminal of eWOM, this research aims to shed some light on the practitioners’ perspective. It mainly aims to explore what strategies managers/owners follow to respond to nCR and explain why. Netnography combined with multi-cases were used to build an input-process-output model that shows how managers/owners respond to negative customer reviews (nCR). The inputs include managers/owners perception of nCR. Perception in turn has three dimensions: opportunity, threat, and indication of service quality. The process includes the factors that might affect managers/owners' strategies adoption decision: market strategy, overall strategy, and operation strategy. Finally, the outputs refer to the online and offline strategies that managers/owners follow to respond to nCR. Online response strategies have three dimensions: distributive, interactional and responsibility. Based on these dimensions, four response strategies were developed as follows: responsive, defensive, diplomatic and no response strategy. In terms of offline response strategies, this study has found that there are two strategies based on the time dimension which are proactive and reactive strategy.

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