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DOES CULTURE AFFECT CONSUMER BEHAVIOR? EVIDENCE FROM HOTEL RATINGS AT BOOKING.COM
 
In this study, we test whether culture affects consumer behavior by analyzing the crowdsourced hotel ratings provided by the customers at the Booking.com portal. We first collect all the ratings awarded by the customers after a stay booked through the Booking.com in eight major tourist destinations in Europe and in top rated hotels. The sample period covers the ratings from December 2016 to December 2018. Overall, the data set includes 412000 ratings awarded along with the nationality of the customers. Next, we collect each hotels aggregate ratings for various subcategories. Finally, we make use of cultural dimensions by matching the cultural indicators with the nationality of the customer. Using appropriate estimations methods and controlling for hotel specific factors, we analyze how the cultural traits affect the rating behavior of customers. The results suggest that customers from different cultural background are more attentive to different aspects of the accommodation services. For instance, customers from individualistic cultures are more responsive to hotels comfort score, and customers from more egalitarian cultures are more responsive to staff quality. Since higher hotel ratings are associated with higher revenues, the findings of the study provide important insights to the hotel managers, who can concentrate more on the aspects of the services that their customer base is more responsive to.

Anahtar Kelimeler: consumer bahvior, crowdsourcing, culture, online ratings