Towards More and Better: Geographical Factors of Hotel Online Ratings
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Aim: The aim of this enquiry is to determine the impact of various geographical factors on the rating and popularity of hotels in selected social media The criteria for the selection of mentioned social media were their popularity and the ability to rate the hotel by the guests. The analysed social media channels include: Booking.com, Facebook, GoogleMaps, TripAdvisor, and Trivago. Methods: This research was conducted for all 193 star-ranked hotels operating in July 2017, in Central Poland. However, analysis covered only those of establishments which were using all considered online reviews’ sources (118 star-ranked hotels). To achieve the research goal, 15 semilogarithmic models were estimated to explain the variability of: 1) the number of hotel reviews in social media, 2) average hotel ratings in social media, and 3) the multiply effect of investigated number and average value of hotel ratings in social media; separately for each type of analysed social media. Following geographical explanatory variables were considered: 1) type of location (urban or rural), 2) distance from closest transport nodes (road, rail and air), 3) distance to the nearest tourist attractions, 4) distance from the nearest administrative centre, 5) distance from nearest competing hotels. The hotel star rank was a control variable included in the study. Results: Proximity to the transportations hubs and to the competitors were found as the most significant geographical factors influencing number of online rates posted in social media channels of hotel services offered in Central Poland. Receiving substantial number of positive reviews is easier when operating as a hotel with better access to transport network, and benefitted by agglomerative effects. Practical implication: Social media management is currently one of the key areas of marketing communication run by hotel enterprises. This article should make those who are responsible for managing social media in business practice, more focus on the geographical context.
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