Perception of Source Credibility Within Touristic Virtual Communities: A Cross-Generational Examination

  • Aleksander GrothEmail author
  • Giulietta Constantini
  • Stephan Schlögl
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10290)


Online reviews are an important factor in the pre-purchase phase of tourist products, but lack social cues to enable an evaluation of the source’s trustworthiness, leading to uncertainty towards the source itself. Drawing upon generational theory, generations differ in their attitudes towards the credibility of online information and their touristic purchase behaviors. A differentiation between actively and passively sought cues regarding source (e.g. profile pictures) and message characteristics (e.g. trustworthiness) is made, in order to better understand the attitudes towards online reviews. An eye tracking study with ten participants of Generation Y and seven of Generation Baby Boomer was conducted on the travel site Results show that Generation Y and Generation Baby Boomer differ significantly in their attitude towards user generated content. Generation Baby Boomer relies less frequently on reviews than Generation Y, reads reviews less frequently and seeks for elements indicating the level of source credibility. For both generations, message characteristics including factors such as the quality of the language, the length of a message and the congruence with personal interests represent the most important cues in the evaluation of source credibility. Generation BB does not pay attention to source characteristics at all but derives some of them, such as travel interests or the experience of a reviewer, from message characteristics.


Source credibility Electronic word-of-mouth Eye tracking 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleksander Groth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giulietta Constantini
    • 1
  • Stephan Schlögl
    • 1
  1. 1.Interaction Lab, Department Management, Communication and ITManagement Center InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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