The joint influence of the timing and framing of an online upselling message on consumer perceptions: the roles of construal level and reactance

Basak Denizci Guillet, Anna S. Mattila, Zixi (Lavi) Peng, Yixing (Lisa) Gao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the interactive effect of timing and framing of hotel’s upselling message on consumer attitudes toward the message. The mediating role of reactance between the timing of upselling message and consumer attitudes is also explored. Design/methodology/approach: A 2 (timing: immediately after the booking vs one week prior to arrival) by 2 (framing: concrete vs abstract) experimental design was used. A total of 250 Chinese consumers were recruited and were randomly exposed to a hotel online upselling scenario. The consumer attitudes and reactance were measured. Findings: When the framing of upselling message involves specific room attributes, consumers show more favorable attitudes when receiving the promotion one week prior to arrival (vs immediately after the booking). However, when the framing of upselling message involves price, consumer attitudes do not differ across the time of receiving the promotion. Reactance mediates the effect of message timing on consumer attitudes when the message framing involves specific room attributes. Practical implications: This research suggests that hotel managers should offer concrete message framing that includes specific room attributes at the time proximal to consumers’ arrival to increase acceptance of online room upselling. In addition, it is important for hotel managers to take consumers’ reactance into consideration when developing an online upselling strategy. Originality/value: Research on online hotel room upselling is scant. This study adds to the upselling literature by examining the joint influence of timing and framing of upselling promotions on consumer attitudes toward such messages. Furthermore, this study extends our understanding of the role of reactance in the online upselling process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2516-2534
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2022


  • Construal-level theory
  • Hotel industry
  • Online upselling
  • Reactance theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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