Wanderlust and trust: the role of narrative transportation in driving electronic word-of-mouth and visit intention for luxury hospitality brands

Anuja, Sandeep Chalke (2022) Wanderlust and trust: the role of narrative transportation in driving electronic word-of-mouth and visit intention for luxury hospitality brands. Doctoral thesis, Sunway University.

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The rapid influx of numerous international hotel chains has led to over competition in the Malaysian luxury hospitality landscape. Since most five-star establishments compete on imitable features, choices are plenty and confusing for customers. A differentiation can be created through storytelling campaigns on social media. The strategic use of interactive social media platforms to showcase branded narrative content in order to evoke consumption desires is gaining momentum amongst luxury marketers. However, the digital landscape is characterized by a general mistrust towards social media platforms, coupled with low online engagement for brands, which dampens advertising effectiveness The main research objective was to determine the factors that can contribute to electronic word of mouth and visit intention for luxury hotel brands through branded storytelling posts on Instagram. When individuals consume stories, they are said to undergo an experience known as transportation. The narrative transportation theory (which is the underpinning theory for this thesis) suggests that when human beings are immersed into the world of the narrative, it results in shifts in their paradigms, emotions, thoughts and beliefs. However, to ensure that consumers are effortlessly persuaded by storytelling on social media, there exists a need to determine which are the factors that impact users’ narrative transportation experience, online engagement and luxury hotel visit intention. Existing literature on hospitality has focussed on aspects related to perceptions of service quality, online reviews and ratings, consumer satisfaction, morality and brand attitudes and largely overlooked the role of individual tendencies, media content processing abilities and the role of photos and videos in electronic word of mouth and behavioural intention. To address the research gaps, data was collected through online surveys and respondents were asked to view the Instagram page of the assigned luxury stimulus hotel and share their perceptions and opinions related to various concepts. 268 usable cases were analysed through the partial least squares structural equations modelling approach using the Smart PLS3 software. Out of the 25 hypotheses, 18 were supported. In terms of theoretical contributions, this study provides insight into the narrative transportation phenomenon for luxury hotel Instagram marketing from the perspective of an urban, Malaysian millennial demographic; it establishes trust in Instagram as an important precondition for narrative transportation, it highlights the moderating role of social interaction between trust in social network services platform and electronic word of mouth intention and extends the luxury social network services advertising model by Huang et al. (2018). In terms of practical implications, it is essential for luxury marketers to focus on designing content that induces narrative transportation for users, enhance trust in the social network platform which hosts the brand’s sponsored content and also work towards enhancing ties amongst Instagram users, in order to optimise the positive impact of trust on desired behavioural outcomes for luxury hotel brands. In terms of limitations, there is a lack of representativeness in the snowball sample emerging from the researchers’ social network, the lack of equal ethnic representation and the limited generalisability of results to other segments of the luxury sector.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: narrative transportation; luxury hotels; social media
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
T Technology > TX Home economics
Divisions: Sunway University > Sunway University Business School
Depositing User: Ms Yong Yee Chan
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2023 03:53
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2023 08:15
URI: http://eprints.sunway.edu.my/id/eprint/2375

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