The Influence of Embedded Social Media Channels on Travelers Gratifications, Satisfaction, and Purchase Intentions

Abstract

Considering the strong influence of social media on internet users, it is important to understand its role for hotel businesses, particularly the online aspect of lodging operations. Although several social media studies have been done, very few studies have focused on travelers’ needs and the specific gratifications they seek when using embedded social media channels on hotel websites, and how those channels would influence their purchasing behavior. The main purpose of the current research is to examine the effectiveness of embedded social media channels on hotel websites and their influence on traveler behavior. Applying the uses and gratifications (U&G) approach, we examined relationships among traveler gratifications, satisfaction, and purchase intentions by comparing user experience with hotel websites that used embedded social media channels to those without embedded social media channels. The results indicated that travelers exposed to the hotel website with embedded social media channels had higher levels of perceived informativeness, perceived enjoyment, and perceived social interaction that directly influenced traveler satisfaction. In the context of embedded social media channels, the gratification factors, such as perceived enjoyment and perceived social interaction, directly influenced traveler satisfaction and purchase intentions, and indirectly influenced purchase intentions through traveler satisfaction. Meanwhile, perceived informativeness did not influence purchase intentions directly in either sample, but it did influence purchase intentions indirectly through travelers’ satisfaction. Furthermore, for the group who used the hotel website without embedded social media channels, perceived social interaction was found to have no significant effect on travelers’ satisfaction and purchase intentions.

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