DOI: 10.1177/00472875231209426 ISSN: 0047-2875

Distance Brings About Beauty: When Does the Influence of Positive Travel Online Reviews Grow Stronger Relative to Negative Reviews?

Qin Zhang, Lujun Su, Ling Zhou, Yaling Dai
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Transportation
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Prior research has demonstrated that negative online reviews have a greater impact than positive online reviews on tourists’ purchase decisions. However, building on the construal level theory, this study proposes a new perspective, suggesting that positive online reviews are more influential in distant-future trips, and negative online reviews are more influential in near-future trips. These effects (i) occur because tourists generate experiences of processing fluency from a construal fit between the construal level of reviews with different valence and the temporal distance of tourists’ trips, and (ii) are significant for tourists who are reading reviews on large screen devices, but not for those using small screen devices. This study demonstrates the importance of temporal distance in eliminating the robust negativity bias, offering novel insight into existing research on persuasion. These findings provide new references for tourism enterprises managing the detrimental effects of negative online reviews in multi-screen times.

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