Using Word Trees, Word Networks, and Tag Clouds to Provide Meaningful Insights: A Case Study of Electronic Word of Mouth for Hotel Service Delivery

Using Word Trees, Word Networks, and Tag Clouds to Provide Meaningful Insights: A Case Study of Electronic Word of Mouth for Hotel Service Delivery

Anil Bilgihan (College of Business, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, USA), Denver Severt (University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA) and Jay Kandampully (Department of Consumer Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/ijssmet.2013100102
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The combined use of data mining techniques and qualitative consumer reports can provide meaningful insights into service performance and relevant decision making. In several case studies, the authors combine qualitative comments from an online hotel feedback website about popular travel destinations, as reported by business, pleasure, and mixed-use travelers. After extracting 1,893 useable customer comments, using a web spider application, the study software produced summaries of qualitative comments in the form of tag clouds, word networks, and word tree images. This technologically enabled analysis of consumer-reported information provides consumer researchers with more objective ratings of qualitative consumer assessments of their experience across various units of analysis, with several applications for corporate and operational management. Furthermore, several implications inform consumer researchers and corporate consumer research departments about effective ways to investigate and serve industry. This study also has several limitations that suggest routes for further research.
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2. Literature Review

2.1. Gestalt Theory

Many studies related to customer experience outcomes, whether satisfaction or dissatisfaction, support the use of gestalt theory as a basis for deriving valuable information from consumer comments (e.g., Severt, 2002; Wirtz & Bateson, 1999). Gestalt theory (Wertheimer, 1900) asserts that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and a unified view applies directly to consumers and their assessments. Therefore, consumers about to make a decision likely place more value on summary or holistic qualitative comments from others, then use this information to gather input and make experience-related decisions.

Considering the importance of understanding the salient dimensions to be evaluated by the consumer, we believe the analysis of online consumer comments also may benefit firms’ self-assessments, business modeling, service innovation, and service research designs. Wirtz and Bateson (1999) pinpoint negative and positive halo effects associated with consumer experiences, for example, and Nisbett and Wilson (1977) consider these halo effects as powerful leverage, because they stimulate and influence consumers’ preferences and purchasing plans.

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