When travellers’ expectations are not met
Rapport management in Airbnb online consumer reviews with negative valence
In recent years, travellers have increasingly opted for sharing economy businesses, such as Airbnb. In contrast to other platforms for travellers, the Airbnb review system is characterised by its positivity bias, which implies that most of the users post enthusiastically positive reviews. Posting a negative review is the exception, which makes it a highly sensitive task in relational terms.In light of the above, this study aims to examine 60 reviews with negative valence in order to understand: first, which aspects of the experience make airbnbers feel dissatisfied; second, the extent to which relational concerns and authenticity make an impact on both dissatisfaction and rapport orientation; and third, how rapport concerns (i.e., face and rights and obligations) are managed in reviews with negative valence. The results show that a large number of users tried to repair rapport, while others neglected or challenged rapport. The difference in tone and intention was motivated by the presence/absence of the relational component (i.e., association rights), which had an impact on the varying importance given to other faults. The present study intends to bring to the fore the importance of rapport management when posting sensitive information in an online system in which the management of communicative skills lies at its core.
Keywords: online consumer reviews, Airbnb, rapport management, rapport repair, rapport challenge, dissatisfaction
Published online: 31 August 2020
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