Keyword

Negative eWOM, Brand Attitude, Purchase Intent, Travel, Airline, South Africa

Abstract

Electronic word of mouth (eWOM) has provided consumers with the opportunity to offer their experiences and opinions to other consumers on a global scale. Both traditional word of mouth (WOM) and eWOM have been found to play a major role in determining consumers’ behaviour and attitudes towards a brand. Negative eWOM has been found to have a greater impact on consumers than positive eWOM. This study investigated whether the willingness of a frequent flyer to engage in negative eWOM has a significant negative impact on brand attitude. Brand attitude was measured by three components, namely brand trust, brand affect and consumer purchase intent. The study further examined whether willingness to engage in negative eWOM differed between customers of full-service and low-cost carriers. The primary finding of this study revealed that willingness to engage in negative eWOM after a service failure did indeed have a negative impact on frequent flyers’ attitude towards the brand. However, no difference was found between the two types of customers. It is believed that this study can assist airline companies in understanding the effect of eWOM after a service failure and, in a scholarly context, goes some way to addressing the dearth of research in this area of enquiry.


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