A model of commitment in B-to-C travel context: a structural equation modeling
Abstract (Summary)Due to its interactive capability, the Web has been considered a promising tool for relationship marketing. However, as competition increases among the online travel businesses, the pressure not just to attract new customers, but to retain existing ones, is intense. In addition, because Internet shoppers can search and compare offerings at little or no cost, e-travel vendors are more challenged in their attempts to build long-term relationships with customers. With the increasing competitiveness in the online travel business, relationship commitment is crucial to a vendor’s survival. Studying the effect of commitment in online travel buyer-seller relationship is important because commitment may be difficult to develop. The cost of searching or switching between numerous retailers is greatly reduced on the Internet. The primary goal of this dissertation was to develop a theory-based model of relationship commitment in an online travel domain. Leaning on the foundations of marketing literature and the three theories of relationship commitment (the investment model, organizational commitment theory, and commitment-trust theory), this study develops a conceptual framework that explains how customers develop commitment to a Travel Web Vendor, and selected relationship outcomes (word-of-mouth) were investigated as well. The results clearly showed the pivotal role of affective commitment as an antecedent to post-purchase behaviors (WOM communications). Of the two forms of commitment, affective commitment had a stronger positive impact on word-of-mouth. Moreover, the results have shown that satisfaction leads to higher affective commitment, which in turn has a strong influence on positive word-of-mouth communications. This study also highlighted the importance of trust for establishing long-term relationships with a travel retailer. From a theoretical perspective, this study has stressed the importance of two different dimensions of commitment. Affective commitment and calculative commitment were found to vary in terms of their impact on word-of-mouth communications. The findings of this dissertation should open the door to additional research in this area. The results of this research have shown that the affective commitment is the most effective for developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships in a B-to-C travel setting. Thus, this study has many implications for practice.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2007