Is it worth responding? The effect of different response strategies on the attitude toward the reviewed hotel
Complaint management literature suggests that corporate response to consumer grievance is an important issue. But within practice the corporate act of hotels responding to (negative) online reviews remains modest. Thus, we tested experimentally the significance of review response as well as the perception and impact-of different response strategies to online hotel reviews. Attribution theory provides the theoretical basis toward employing a 2 (response voice) x 2 (respondent position) x 2 (source identification) x 1 (control group) experimental design. Our results indicate that the worst strategy for a hotel is not responding to a negative online review. In addition, readers of online reviews who attribute the content of the response to external motivations are more likely to improve their attitude towards the hotel. This external attribution and, by extension, level of attitude toward the reviewed hotel could be leveraged by the response-voice and the relative respondent position.