Online Travel Review Study


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Online Travel Review Study is a well researched Actuarial Science Project Topic, it can be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research.

1 Introduction

The advent of the Internet has brought about a word-of-mouth revolution. Through the Internet, individuals can make their thoughts, opinions easily accessible to the global community of Internet users (Dellarocas, 2003). A total of 44 percent of US Internet users publish their thoughts or otherwise create content online (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2004) and a majority of consumers report that they trust
consumers’ opinions posted online (Intelliseek, 2004).

Recently, increasing numbers of travelers use the Internet for travel planning (Travel Industry Association, 2005); indeed, searching for travel-related information is one of the most popular online activities (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2006).

Forrester (2006a) estimates current online travel spending at $73 billion, which represents 35% of total online spending. More than 80% of web shoppers said they use other consumers’ reviews (Forrester, 2006b). Similarly, Compete, Inc (2006) found that nearly 50% of travel purchasers visited the message board, forum, or online community for their online travel purchasing and one in three of these buyers said that consumer reviews helped with their purchase decision.

Importantly, almost half of those whose purchasing decision was influenced by consumer reviews said that consumers’ opinions actually caused them to change their minds about what they purchased. Moreover, among those buyers, 25% said they also posted a review on a consumer review site after making their purchase. Clearly, online consumer-generated information is taking on an important role in online travelers’ decision making.

In spite of the increasing importance of online peer-to-peer (P2P) information exchange, many challenges still remain. One issue is establishing trust (Gretzel, 2006). The latest Internet study conducted by the Center for the Digital Future (2006) indicates that information pages posted by individuals have very low credibility, with only 11.5% of users saying that the information on Web sites posted by individuals is reliable and accurate.

Also, a number of studies reported that online reviewers are perceived as being lower in credibility and likeability compared to traditional word-of-mouth sources due to the absence of source cues in online environments (Jin et al., 2002; Smith, Menon & Sivakumar, 2005; Dellarocas, 2006).

Another challenge is a lack of studies that examine the role of travel reviews in travelers’ trip planning process. Without a better understanding of its role and use in travel planning, review providers can not improve their services.

Further, although studies have been conducted to investigate what motivates consumers to actively contribute to virtual travel communities (Wang & Fesenmaier, 2003) and some research also exists regarding motivations to share opinions online (Hennig-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh & Gremler, 2004), no specific data is available to shed light on consumers’ motivations to write travel-related reviews.

Consequently, a travel review study was conducted to investigate the role and impact of online travel reviews in the travel planning process, the factors that influence the credibility and usefulness of online travel reviews, as well as consumers’ motivations to write and post online travel reviews.


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Actuarial Science

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