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Shared Short-Term Rentals for Sustainable Tourism in the Social-Network Age: The Impact of Online Reviews on Users’ Purchase Decisions

School of Business, Anhui University, Hefei 230601, China
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Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4064; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154064
Received: 9 July 2019 / Revised: 23 July 2019 / Accepted: 26 July 2019 / Published: 28 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tourism in the Social Media and Big Data Era)
With the development of social networks and the Internet-based sharing economy, shared short-term rentals are emerging as a new kind of service that provides a convenient way for people to buy short-term rental services in cities through social-network-enabled platforms. However, like other social-network-based services, shared short-term rental is also likely to be impacted by online reviews. This paper aims to investigate the impact of online reviews on users’ purchase decisions toward shared short-term rentals, and further to provide optimization suggestions for the future advance of shared short-term rentals. The contributions of this paper are many-fold. First, we introduce the Stimuli-Organism-Response (SOR) model into the study and propose new variables for the model, including stimulus variables, organism variables, response variable, and moderating variables. Second, we propose eight hypotheses to evaluate the impact of online reviews on users’ purchase decisions toward shared short-term rentals. Finally, we collect data through a questionnaire survey and present comprehensive results on many aspects. Based on the data analysis, we find out that the quality of online reviews impacts users’ perceived value and perceived risk, which in turn impacts users’ purchase decisions toward shared short-term rentals. In addition, the cognitive needs of users can adjust the impact of online reviews on the perceived risk of users but have no explicit adjusting effect for users’ perceived value. Further, we present some research implications as well as suggestions for rental platforms to advance shared short-term rentals in the Internet age. View Full-Text
Keywords: shared short-term rental; sustainable tourism; online reviews; purchase decisions; social networks shared short-term rental; sustainable tourism; online reviews; purchase decisions; social networks
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, J.; Peng, Z. Shared Short-Term Rentals for Sustainable Tourism in the Social-Network Age: The Impact of Online Reviews on Users’ Purchase Decisions. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4064. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154064

AMA Style

Zhao J, Peng Z. Shared Short-Term Rentals for Sustainable Tourism in the Social-Network Age: The Impact of Online Reviews on Users’ Purchase Decisions. Sustainability. 2019; 11(15):4064. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154064

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhao, Jie; Peng, Zhixiang. 2019. "Shared Short-Term Rentals for Sustainable Tourism in the Social-Network Age: The Impact of Online Reviews on Users’ Purchase Decisions" Sustainability 11, no. 15: 4064. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154064

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