Offline Context Affects Online Reviews: The Effect of Post-Consumption Weather

Leif Brandes, Yaniv Dover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This empirical study investigates whether unpleasant weather - a prominent aspect of a consumer's offline environment - influences online review provision and content. It uses a unique dataset that combines 12 years of data on hotel bookings and reviews, with weather condition information at a consumer's home and hotel address. The results show that bad weather increases review provision and reduces rating scores for past consumption experiences. Moreover, 6.5% more reviews are written on rainy days and that these reviews are 0.1 points lower, accounting for 59% of the difference in average rating scores between four- and five-star hotels in our data. These results are consistent with a scenario in which bad weather (i) induces negative consumer mood, lowering rating scores, and (ii) makes consumers less time-constrained, which increases review provision. Additional analyses with various automated sentiment measures for almost 300,000 review texts support this scenario: reviews on rainy days show a significant reduction in reviewer positivity and happiness, yet are longer and more detailed. This study demonstrates that offline context influences online reviews, and discusses how platforms and businesses should include contextual information in their review management approaches.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)595-615
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s).

Keywords

  • automated text analysis
  • context effect
  • mood
  • online reviews
  • user-generated content
  • weather

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