Does interest alignment between hotels and online travel agencies intensify review manipulations?

Yan Chen, Tianwei Tang, Yongjian Li, Di Fan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: This study examines whether a higher interest alignment between online travel agencies (OTAs; hosting platform) and hotels (business owners) will intensify review manipulation activities. Design/methodology/approach: With a panel data set collected from a Chinese online travel agency and a travel search engine, the authors develop a matching-based difference-indifference approach to examine the presence of partnership-intensified review manipulation. Findings: The authors find that the ratings of agency's partner hotels (with a higher interest alignment) are abnormally higher than those of matched non-partner hotels (with a lower interest alignment), after they are benchmarked with their ratings on the search engine (without a partnership business model). Further, the analysis results indicate that this partnership-intensified manipulation deteriorates the hotel's sales performance because of damaged customer trust and satisfaction. Originality/value: Previous studies implicitly assume that review manipulator is independent from the hosting platform. This is the first study examining the role of the hosting platform in review manipulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1435-1456
Number of pages22
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Volume121
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Hotel performance
  • Interest alignment
  • Online travel agency
  • Partnership model
  • Review manipulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Industrial relations
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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