Let Photos Speak: The Effect of User-Generated Visual Content on Hotel Review Helpfulness

Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research(2023)

Cited 26|Views20
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Abstract
A picture is worth a thousand words. User-generated photos (UGPs) are increasingly accompanying online reviews of hotels. This article draws on media richness theory to estimate the effects of UGPs on hotel reviews' helpfulness. Based on a sample of 1,159,590 valid reviews with 464,316 photos, we utilized an integrated analytical model incorporating both econometric analyses and image-processing techniques. The results show that reviews accompanied by UGPs are generally rated as more helpful than those with textual content only. Furthermore, photos showing guestroom objects were rated as more helpful than those showing food & beverages. Finally, the positive effects of UGPs on review helpfulness were especially prominent for hotels with lower prices and negative reviews. This study adds new insights to the online review literature and advances the methodological approach in analyzing unstructured user-generated content. This study provides important implications for hotel managers and online booking platforms regarding UGP management.
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Key words
online reviews,user-generated content,deep learning,visual content,media richness theory
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