The Effect of Zomato Online Reviews on Customers' Dining Intentions: The Moderating Role of Gender Difference
With the popularity of Web 2.0 technologies and mobile applications, consumers are becoming increasingly socially interactive and media-oriented, relying on online reviews to help them with decision-making before an actual purchase. They do this to avoid the risk of buying the wrong products and making poor choices. In the hospitality context, online restaurant recommendation applications such as Zomato and Yelp are commonly used to review online reviews to help customers make decisions on where to dine. This is because consumers may consider online reviews generated by experienced customers credible, helping them evaluate a dining experience. Therefore, the credibility of online reviews and different levels of emotion are likely to affect dining intention.
The main purpose of this research is to examine the impact of review credibility and review valence on consumers’ dining intention, and further investigate the moderating effect of gender difference on the impact. The research contributes to the current online review literature in terms unique effects of review valence and review credibility considering gender difference.
This research was conducted using an experimental design in terms of the research methodology. An online questionnaire was developed on employing an online survey software, Qualtrics, and distributed to online panel respondents from Amazon Mturk to collect data. A total of 250 responses are collected from adult consumers in the United States of America (USA). Confirmatory factor analysis, descriptive statistics, correlations, and multiple regression analyses were conducted using SPSS to test the research hypotheses.
The results of this research reveal that review credibility affects consumers’ dining intention. Specifically, in positive online reviews, a positive impact of review credibility can be found on dining intention, and a negative impact can be found in negative reviews. The moderating role of gender difference is also found. The influence of review valence on dining intention is greater for females than males. Moreover, in negative online reviews, the negative influence of review credibility on dining intention is stronger for females than males. The findings of this research contribute to the restaurant review literature and help restauranteurs better understand customers’ needs and expectations of the dining experience and improve communication effectiveness in their online marketing strategies.