Effectiveness of sustainability communication on social media: role of message appeal and message source

Payal S. Kapoor, M. S. Balaji, Yangyang Jiang

    Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Purpose: This study aims to examine the effectiveness of sustainability communication on social media. More specifically, the effects of message appeal (sensual vs guilt) and message source (hotel vs social media influencer [SMI]) on perceived environmental corporate social responsibility and the intention to stay at the eco-friendly hotel were examined. Design/methodology/approach: Three studies using the experimental design were carried out. Study 1 examined the relationship between message appeal (sensual vs guilt), perceived environmental social corporate responsibility and the intention to stay at the eco-friendly hotel when the hotel posts sustainability messages on social media. Study 2 replicated Study 1 findings when the SMI posts sustainability messages. Study 3 examined the moderating role of message source (hotel vs influencer) in the effects of message appeal (sensual vs guilt) on behavioral intentions. Findings: Sustainability messages with the sensual (vs guilt) appeal are more persuasive when the eco-friendly hotel (vs SMI) posts it on social media. Furthermore, the traveler’s perception of the hotel’s environmental corporate social responsibility mediates this relationship. Research limitations/implications: This study extends the literature on sustainability communication by demonstrating the role of message source and message appeal in influencing the traveler’s perceptions and intentions toward eco-friendly hotels. Practical implications: According to the study findings, eco-friendly hotels can motivate travelers to make pro-sustainable choices by accurately matching the message appeal with the message source in the sustainability communication on social media. Originality/value: This study is one of the earliest studies that examine the congruency effect of message appeal and message source for sustainability communication on social media in the hospitality realm. The findings offer novel insights for eco-friendly hotels to develop effective sustainability communication on social media.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)949-972
    Number of pages24
    JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
    Volume33
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021

    Keywords

    • Eco-friendly hotel
    • Message appeal
    • Message source
    • Social media
    • Social media influencer
    • Sustainability communication

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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