Tourism enterprises add commercial information in the hashtags on their business Instagram accounts, whereas digital natives tend to avoid advertisements. Digital natives actively analyse the intentions of advertisements, form an internal defence mechanism to distrust advertisements, and show a strong tendency to intentionally avoid advertisements. How to offset the negative effects of commercial information remains an open question. Thus, it is theoretically meaningful to investigate digital natives’ perceptions of source credibility related to hashtags and the resistance theory underlying those perceptions that evokes a cognitive response to accept (i.e. persuasion) or reject (i.e. resistance to persuasion) commercial information. This study applied resistance theory to examine the roles of commercial information in hashtags and source credibility in the relationship between the number of hashtags and digital natives’ travel intentions. A 3 (number of hashtags: low vs. moderate vs. high) x 2 (commercial information in hashtags: presence vs. absence) between-subjects experiment was conducted. The findings revealed that commercial information in three levels of hashtags influences source credibility differently. Source credibility mediates the effect of the number of hashtags on click-through intention and travel intention. The findings provide insights on digital natives’ internal defence mechanism against commercial information from marketing perspectives.
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- Tourism marketing
- commercial information
- digital natives