This study investigates the joint influences of geographical distance, social distance and travel service on online ratings in the group tour product sector. Based on 345,353 Tuniu.com reviews of 137 destination cities, we empirically find that both geographical and social distance significantly affect online word of mouth. Geographical distance has a negative effect on rating. When the quality of physical services such as schedule, catering and hotel accommodation is improved, the negative effect will be mediated. Interestingly, after controlling for the effect of geographical distance, social distance has a positive effect on rating. That is, compared with travelers from socially different cities, travelers who are socially similar are pickier. When the quality of travel service is improved, simulational fluency reducing the psychological distance, and the positive effect of social distance on travel rating is also reduced.
Hu, Xin; Luo, Jifeng; and Wu, Zhiyang, "Where you from affects your online word of mouth: Evidence from a Chinese travel site" (2018). PACIS 2018 Proceedings. 304.