Linking Website Attributes of User-Generated Content to E-Behavioral Loyalty: International Tourists' Perspectives

Linking Website Attributes of User-Generated Content to E-Behavioral Loyalty: International Tourists' Perspectives

Mamoun N. Akroush (The German-Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan), Bushra Mahadin (American University of Madaba, Madaba, Jordan) and Hani Bata (Saba & Co. Intellectual Property, Amman, Jordan)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/IJSDS.2019100102

Abstract

This paper aims to examine the impact of user-generated content UGC website attributes (accessibility, product offering, information quality, user friendliness, and entertainment) on e-behavioral loyalty by testing the mediating effect of e-satisfaction and e-attitudinal loyalty on these relationships, in an emerging market (Jordan) from a US tourists' perspectives. The sample consisted of 258 tourists who visited Jordan for leisure tourism. Structural path analysis was used to test the hypothesized relationships between the constructs of the research model. The results show that website attributes (accessibility, product offering, information quality, user friendliness, and entertainment) have a positive effect on e-satisfaction. Tourists' e-satisfaction fully mediates the relationships between accessibility, product offering, entertainment, and e-attitudinal loyalty. E-attitudinal loyalty fully mediates the relationship between tourists' e-satisfaction and e-behavioral loyalty. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are also provided.
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Introduction

The advancement of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has brought immense opportunities for the tourism and hospitality industry. According to Statista.com (2019), almost 4.4 billion people were active internet users as of April 2019, containing 58% of the global population. Easier access to computers, the modernization of countries around the world and an increased utilization of smartphones have given people the opportunity to use the internet more frequently and with more convenience (statista.com, 2019a-b). Moreover, The adoption and use of Web 2.0 tools has influenced the behaviour of tourism consumers in terms of information search, decision-making, and sharing experiences, and affected the way in which tourists perceive their experience, post online reviews, and share their opinions and evaluations about tourism providers and destinations (Law et al., 2014).

In the modern digital age, online content, specifically User-Generated Content (UGC), is the primary source of information for potential tourists when planning their travels (Lu and Gursoy, 2015). UGC may comprise any form of content, such as chats, discussion forums, social networking sites, blogs, advertisements, and audio files, created by users and made available via social media or other websites (Future Market Insights, 2018). Due to the intangible nature of the tourism products, UGC websites are gaining momentum in enhancing consumers’ ability to engage in two-way communication, giving them the privilege to benefit from each other’s opinions and experiences (Ye et al., 2011). For instance, social networking is one of the most popular online activities and Facebook is the most popular online network based on active usage. As of the third quarter of 2018, there were over 2.2 billion monthly active Facebook users, accounting for almost half of internet users worldwide. Connecting with family and friends, expressing opinions, entertainment and online shopping are amongst the most popular reasons for internet usage (statista.com, 2019b).

Through UGC websites, customers easily compare the prices and features of travel products and services without speaking to a travel agent. Nearly 40% of all tour and activity transactions are done online (Rezdy Data, 2016), while 60% of leisure travelers and 41% of business travelers manage their own travel accommodation mostly through the internet, and the vast majority 95% of travelers read an average of five reviews online prior to booking (Thomas, 2016). Tourists spend an average of 30 minutes reading reviews prior to booking, and 70% of them search up to 20 reviews during the planning stage of their trip (Ady, 2015). Furthermore, 70% of global consumers consider online customer reviews as the second most reliable type of advertising (Thomas, 2016). 73% of travelers use online sources when deciding on their destination, while 93% of travelers admitted that their travel decisions were affected by online reviews (Trip Advisor, 2016a, 2016b). Moreover, 88% of consumers believe that online reviews have the same impact as personal recommendations and are seen as authentic, trustworthy, helpful, and influential (Anderson, 2014).

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