Complaining in Cyberspace: The Motives and Forms of Hotel Guests' Complaints Online

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Title Complaining in Cyberspace: The Motives and Forms of Hotel Guests' Complaints Online
Author Sparks, Beverley; Browning, Victoria
Journal Name Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management
Year Published 2010
Place of publication United States
Publisher Routledge
Abstract Traditionally, consumers who have been dissatisfied with service have typically complained to the frontline personnel or to a manager in either a direct (face-to-face, over the phone) manner, indirect by writing, or done nothing but told friends and family of the incident. More recently, the Internet has provided various “new” ways to air a grievance, especially when little might have been done at the point of service failure. With the opportunity to now spread word-of-mouth globally, consumers have the potential to impact the standing of a brand or a firm’s reputation. The hotel industry is particularly vulnerable, as an increasing number of bookings are undertaken via the Internet and the decision process is likely to be influenced by what other previous guests might post on many booking-linked sites. We conducted a qualitative study of a key travel site to ascertain the forms and motives of complaints made online about hotels and resorts. 200 web-based consumer complaints were analyzed using NVivo 8 software. Findings revealed that consumers report a wide range of service failures on the Internet. They tell a highly descriptive, persuasive, and credible story, often motivated by altruism or, at the other end of the continuum, by revenge. These stories have the power to influence potential guests to book or not book accommodation at the affected properties. Implications for managers of hotels and resorts are discussed.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19368623.2010.508010
Copyright Statement Copyright 2010 Routledge. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Volume 19
Issue Number 7
Page from 797
Page to 818
ISSN 1936-8623
Date Accessioned 2010-09-14
Date Available 2012-09-14T01:03:31Z
Language en_US
Research Centre Griffith Institute For Tourism
Faculty Griffith Business School
Subject Tourism Marketing
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/34308
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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