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Hotel Managers' Complaint Handling Behavior on Social Media Platforms : An Inductive Qualitative Analysis

Barbara Riegler, Brigitte Stangl & Andreas Wittmer

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abstract Failures in the hotel’s service performance lead to dissatisfaction of the customers. Dissatisfaction increases if organizations don’t handle customer complaints in an appropriate way resulting in negative impacts of outcome variables such as negative word-of-mouth (WOM). There is evidence, that the more dissatisfied customers are the more likely they engage in negative WOM activities. Thus, effective service recovery strategies are of great importance in order to correct service failures and to secure the success of organizations.
Social media platforms allow consumers to engage in WOM activities about an organization online. Thus, these platforms not only serve as a channel for distributing information from the suppliers' side but are also used to change experiences between travelers. Actually, social media is one of the most important sources for planning a vacation; customers trust their e-fellow’s opinion; and online user reviews have significant impact on consumer considerations and online bookings. Therefore, hotel managers are forced to continuously monitor social media platforms. However, there is not enough research attempting if and how enterprises respond to negative eWOM. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate reactions of hotel managers to online complaints.
In our study hotel managers in German speaking countries (Austria, Germany, and Switzerland) are confronted with a scenario of a possible negative entry (i.e. one travel blog posting and one review on a hotel rating platform) concerning their hotel. Then, they are asked to react to the scenario in terms of intended actions to be taken after detecting these negative comments online. A qualitative content analysis of the answers resulted in 8 categories of complaint handling on social media platforms. The hotel managers intend to either i) ignore the negative positng, ii) get in contact with the complainant, iii) place a statement on the platform, iv) delete the posting v) enhance customer reviews, vi) investigate the reason for the complaint internally, vi) assume that the review is a fake, vii) take legal steps. Detailed results on each category are given and implications for hotel managers as well as suggestions for future research are discussed.
   
type conference paper (Deutsch)
   
keywords Social Media, Hospitality, Complaint Management
   
name of conference Conference on Social Media in Hospitality and Tourism 2011 (Verona, Italy)
date of conference 20-10-2011
title of proceedings Proceedings for the 2011 Conference on Social Media in Hospitality and Tourism
page(s) 10
publisher Virginia Tech (Virginia)
ISBN 978-0-615-56225-4
review not reviewed
   
citation Riegler, B., Stangl, B., & Wittmer, A. (2011). Hotel Managers' Complaint Handling Behavior on Social Media Platforms: An Inductive Qualitative Analysis. In Proceedings for the 2011 Conference on Social Media in Hospitality and Tourism, pp.10. Virginia: Virginia Tech. - ISBN 978-0-615-56225-4.