How handwriting reduces negative online ratings

Vito Tassiello, Giampaolo Viglia, Anna S. Mattila

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This research investigates whether handwriting during the tourism experience reduces subsequent negative and extreme online rating scores. We portray that handwriting, due to a more deeply rooted elaboration of information, activates emotional empathy. Study 1, a field experiment in the hospitality context, suggests that handwriting reduces the extremeness of subsequent online rating scores. Study 2 compares handwritten vs. typed comments and complements the initial findings by clarifying the mediating role of emotional empathy on this relationship. We discuss the boundary conditions for the effect and offer practical implications on how to nudge tourists to reduce negative online rating scores. Hotel operators should use their enhanced emotional bonding with tourists when competing with peer-to-peer operators.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
Early online date7 Jun 2018
Publication statusEarly online - 7 Jun 2018


  • handwriting
  • negative online rating score
  • emotional empathy
  • field experiment
  • tourists


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