Although the literature has established the effect of online reviews on customer purchase intentions, the influence of psychological factors on online ratings is overlooked. This paper aims to examine these factors under the perspective of construal level theory (CLT).Design/methodology/approachUsing review data from TripAdvisor and Booking.com, the authors study three dimensions of psychological distances (temporal, spatial and social) and their direct and interaction effects on review valence, using regression analysis. The authors examine the effect of these distances on the information content of online reviews using a novel bag-of-words model to assess its concreteness.FindingsTemporal distance and spatial distance have positive direct effects on review valence. Social distance, on the other hand, has a negative direct effect. However, its interaction with the other two distances has a positive effect, suggesting that consumers tend to “zoom-out” to less concrete things in their ratings.Practical implicationsThe findings provide implications for the interpretation of review ratings by the service providers and their information content.Originality/valueThis study extends the CLT and electronic word-of-mouth literature by jointly exploring the effect of all three psychological distances that are applicable in post-purchase evaluations. Methodologically, it provides a novel application of the bag-of-words model in evaluating the concreteness of online reviews.
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 31, 2018
Keywords: Online reviews; Construal level theory; Review valence; Review text concreteness