Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to find out how credibility judgements intervene in the consumption of electronic-Word of Mouth (e-WOM) in tourism, as there is discrepancy in the literature about its influence on decision-making processes. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative approach is explored, based on semi-structured interviews and observation through think-aloud protocol. This methodology provides fruitful insights as it focuses on the users’ browsing habits. The author interviewed a sample of professionals of tourism, cybertourists and bloggers. Findings – Results reveal that only part of e-WOM is granted credibility. Therefore, its persuasiveness depends on those limited positive judgements. Travellers use a conceptual mindset and a series of cognitive heuristics (homophily, crowd consensus, etc.) to assess credibility. Formal knowledge background and social pressures have proven to be weak. Research limitations/implications – This study is limited to a reduced sample of informants but their adjustment to the most typical profiles interviewed compensates this restriction. Another limitation is that data comes from a single cultural context (Spain), but on the other hand provides data that did not exist in the international literature on the topic. Practical implications – Outcomes can help tourism managers to monitor key heuristics employed by end-users in webs of e-WOM and detect new trends of travelling habits. Originality/value – The paper is original in that it establishes the rationalities behind the daily use of cognitive heuristics explored through different traveller's profiles.
Online Information Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 4, 2014