How to improve the stated helpfulness of hotel reviews? A multilevel approach

Sai Liang, Markus Schuckert, Rob Law

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The prevalence of online review websites and the ever-growing difficulty of judging review quality result in the increasing need for consumers to reduce cognitive costs. Thus, the purpose of this study is to find out the determinants of review helpfulness based on a comprehensive theoretical framework and empirical model. Design/methodology/approach: This study applied a comprehensive framework, including both review content quality and reviewer background, to investigate the determinants of review helpfulness. It also presents empirical models to further control factors around product features. Findings: Consumers are more likely to give helpful votes to those informative and readable reviews accompanied by extreme ratings. Reviewers who disclose information, have a high reputation and report a poor experience are always identified as helpful. Consumers also tend to signal suggestions from users with a local cultural background as subjective and useless. Research limitations: This study focuses on upscale hotels in China. Information registered on TripAdvisor was used presenting a residential address not nationality. Only few controlling factors available because of the limited information are shown on online review websites. Practical implications: Managers of both hotels and online review websites need to focus on reviews and/or reviewers as KOLs who attract consumers’ attention and affect their subsequent decisions. A dialogue with those KOLs can be by focusing on responding to reviews with certain characteristics. A reward system for reviews and KOLs may benefit review quality on online review websites and reduce cognition costs. Originality/value: This positivistic research design, with multilevel approach, presenting a comprehensive conceptual framework and empirical model not only considering review- and reviewer-related factors but also controlled factors in product or service level (hotel-related characteristics).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-977
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2019


  • China tourism
  • Cultural background
  • Key opinion leader
  • Online reviews
  • Review helpfulness
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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