The antecedents and consequences of online trust in online travel communities

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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The information technologies have significantly redefined our interaction, consumption, and lifestyle into the new digital era. The electronic commerce (e-commerce) market continues to expand every year and generates a high growth rate. With the advent of social network platforms, the information power is transferred from suppliers and agents to consumers. The tourism industry is one of the most information-intensive industries because of the nature of intangibility. Travel products are the leading category in online purchases. Online trust is one of the most constitutive factors in relationship marketing and e-commerce. The success of the online travel communities is contingent on the user-generated content, interactivity of the community and e-commerce. Given the intriguing but less sufficient attention role of online trust in online travel communities, this study tries to understand the mechanism of online trust. The present research is done by using the quantitative and confirmatory method to examine the proposed research framework empirically in the context of Chinese online travel communities. Structural equation modeling is the statistical approach to measure and estimate causal relations. This study collects 205 valid online surveys from Chinese customers via the Wechat group. The findings indicate that the antecedents and consequences of online trust which are adopted from previous literature are supported in the research framework. Three antecedents are investigated on the basis of previous literature: perceived usefulness, information quality, and perceived reputation. Perceived reputation is the most significant driver to build online trust in online travel communities. There are two consequences of online trust: purchase intention and positive electronic word of mouth (eWOM). The online trust plays an important role to convert online travel communities’ customers into purchase intention and positive eWOM
Thesis advisor
Gloukhovtsev, Alexei
online trust, online travel communities, perceived usefulness, information quality, perceived reputation, purchase intention, positive eWOM
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