Please, talk about it! When hotel popularity boosts preferences

Giampaolo Viglia*, Roberto Furlan, Antonio Ladrón-de-Guevara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Many consumers post on-line reviews, affecting the average evaluation of products and services. Yet, little is known about the importance of the number of reviews for consumer decision making. We conducted an on-line experiment (n= 168) to assess the joint impact of the average evaluation, a measure of quality, and the number of reviews, a measure of popularity, on hotel preference. The results show that consumers' preference increases with the number of reviews, independently of the average evaluation being high or low. This is not what one would expect from an informational point of view, and review websites fail to take this pattern into account. This novel result is mediated by demographics: young people, and in particular young males, are less affected by popularity, relying more on quality. We suggest the adoption of appropriate ranking mechanisms to fit consumer preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Early online date26 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014


  • hotel
  • popularity
  • preference
  • quality
  • reviews


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