This paper investigates the occurrence of CSR-related aspects in hotel reviews on TripAdvisor and consumer willingness to reference a hotel’s CSR engagement in hotel reviews.
With the CSR communication strategies framework of Morsing and Schultz (2006) in mind, two studies were conducted. Study 1 consisted of three focus groups, whose goal it was to discover the reasoning behind consumers’ CSR-related review writing behaviour. Study 2 analysed 1,383 online reviews of 47 Austrian CSR-certified hotels onTripAdvisor to learn which aspects of hotels’ CSR commitments customers value enough to provide feedback upon.
Results show that environmental issues and sustainable supply chains receive highest attention in customer reviews. Focus group results show that there still prevails great unawareness about CSR in hotels, though more CSR-related communication in hotels is considered desirable. CSR-related communication may concern the use of regional products, environmental protection, sustainability issues and employee wellbeing.
Limitations owing to the qualitative nature of the studies exist, mainly in the non-representability of the samples. Researchers could comprehensively survey more hotels and conduct quantitative surveys of consumer attitudes towards CSR-related review writing.
The customer unawareness attests to the still existing need for hotels to build stronger CSR awareness via CSR engagement and communication.
This paper’s value lies in the uncovering of grave awareness shortcomings pertaining to CSR (communication) in the hotel industry among consumers. The review analysis underlines this, uncovering which CSR dimensions are more or less referenced by reviewers, pointing towards potential differences in value attribution of various CSR measures.