The explosive development of Web 2.0 and online word-of-mouth (WOM) communications have facilitated the transaction of experience goods from offline to online. However, most of the online WOM merely consist of words which make it hard to convey the subtle feelings and experiences of consuming such products or services. In order to form more precise perceptions and reduce uncertainty, search engines are commonly used by individuals to reach more concrete product-related information. Prior studies proposed that consumers' online information search behavior reflects their specific intentions and correlates with further economic activities. However, there is still a deficiency of empirical evidence that identifies the possible impacts of consumers' information search behavior on purchasing decisions for experience goods. In cognition of this research gap, this paper conduct an empirical analysis to investigate the relationship between consumers' hotel information search behavior on Google.com and hotel booking data on Expedia.com. The results show that larger volume of search queries for one hotel is associated with higher room booking rate from the online travel agent. Furthermore, the interaction between information search and hotel review indicates that information search on Google weakens the reliance of online WOM on purchasing decision. The results are expected to provide useful insights on how consumers search, utilize information and make purchase decisions in the online market.
Zhao, Daying; Ye, Qiang; and Zhu, Kevin, "The Influence of Consumers' Information Search Behavior on Purchase Decisions for Experience Goods: Empirical Evidence from Hotel Industry" (2016). WHICEB 2016 Proceedings. 24.