Whom do we trust? Cultural differences in consumer responses to online recommendations

Alei Fan, Han Shen, Laurie Wu, Anna S. Mattila, Anil Bilgihan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Purpose: Consumers increasingly depend on the internet as the information source to make their hospitality decisions, which highlights the need for more research in online recommendation. Due to the globalization, culture and its effects on marketing become an increasingly important subject to investigate. Therefore, this paper aims to offer a cross-cultural investigation of consumers’ different trustworthiness and credibility perceptions when facing online recommendations from different information resources. Design/methodology/approach: This research uses the source-credibility theory to examine consumers’ responses to online recommendations from two sources. Participants were recruited from two equivalent marketing panels in each culture. A 2 (online recommendation source: in-group vs out-group) by 2 (culture: American vs Chinese) between-subjects quasi-experiment was conducted to test the hypotheses. Findings: The results demonstrate that culture moderates consumer responses to the two types of online sources. Chinese consumers, due to their more collectivist nature, exhibit higher levels of purchase intent when the recommendation originates from an in-group rather than from an out-group. Such differences are not observed among the more individualist American consumers. Furthermore, trustworthiness plays an important role in influencing Chinese consumers’ perception of recommendation credibility and the consequent purchase intent. Practical implications: This research provides guidelines to hospitality practitioners when developing their social networking sites and online marketing strategies across different cultures. Originality/value: The current study conducts an in-depth investigation of cultural differences in consumers’ perceptions of and reactions to online recommendations from other customers with various social distances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1508-1525
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Whom do we trust? Cultural differences in consumer responses to online recommendations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this