Post-Consumption Susceptibility of Online Reviewers to Random Weather-Related Events
57 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 7, 2018
Online reviews are supposed to provide an unbiased source of information for consumers. However, prior studies have shown that, due to the complex nature of consumer-producer matching and the influence of the consumer’s social environment on their decision-making, such reviews are subject to biases. In the present work, online reviewing behavior was even susceptible to offline events that are exogenous, random, and unrelated to consumption or social factors. Using a unique research approach with extensive and rich hotel-review data, detrimental weather conditions at the time of review provision were found to affect reviewing behavior, despite occurring days after consumption and at a distant location from the hotel. The results indicate that bad weather, such as rain, snow, or both combined, increase the overall incidence of online reviews, and that reviewers consistently provide lower ratings on rainy days. Rainy weather also significantly affects both the format and text of reviews. Further evidence suggests that lower ratings on rainy days result from mood effects on evaluative judgment, rather than from selection effects. Overall, this study suggests that both the incidence and content of consumer product opinions are malleable and can be influenced by external events in real-life scenarios and days after consumption.
Keywords: online reviews, weather, mood, user generated content, self-selection
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