How Critical Is User Generated Content for Customer Satisfaction in Accommodation Aggregator Sites?

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How critical is User Generated Content for customer satisfaction in accommodation aggregator sites?

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Introduction and problem formulation:
The Internet has grown to be one of the most effective means for tourists to seek information in the planning process of their vacation. Tourists find themselves navigating through an immense amount of information that could be relevant for the planning, which can be experienced as being overwhelming for prospect travellers (Pan and Fesenmaier 2006). In this scenario, aggregator sites enable users to search for content specific for their area of interest, gathering the information needed under a single roof and functioning as an intermediary between
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2), but instead the Web has become the world and everything and everyone can cast their “information shadow”. Web 2.0 has enabled people to collaborate and share information online, and has gained a massive popularity in doing so (Reactive 2007). Social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia are some of the very popular Web 2.0 sites that are dependable on the engagement and activeness of the users to provide the content on these sites. O’reilly (2009) explains how Web 2.0, as a platform, “[builds] applications that literally get better the more people use them, harnessing network effects not only to acquire users, but also to learn from them and build on their contributions” (p. 1). Hence, one of the very important concepts within Web 2.0 is User Generated Content (UGC), which also has become the “pivotal role that individual consumers have in submitting, reviewing, and responding to the online content” (Cox et al, 2009, p. 744). In marketing terms, UGC has effectively become a form of consumer-to-consumer e-marketing, equivalent of electronic word-of-mouth marketing (Cox et al., 2009). Accommodation aggregators makes use of various Web 2.0 features such as mashups (e.g. using the combination of Google Maps with hotel locations), and user reviews and ratings of the hotels which are UGC.

Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is a concept that relates to how a company's

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