Gen Z Travelers in the Instagram Marketplace: Trust, Influencer Type, Post Type, and Purchase Intention

Miju Choi, Youngjoon Choi, Hwabong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the growing role of virtual influencers in the tourism and hospitality business, there is a lack of research on Gen Z travelers’ trust in Instagram marketplace and virtual influencers. Thus, this study applied trust transfer theory to explore how Gen Z travelers’ trust in Instagram marketplace transferred to trust in tour program sellers and purchase intentions. In addition, it examined influencer type (human vs. virtual) and post type (sponsored vs. non-sponsored) as potential moderators of this relationship. A mixed methods approach was adopted that comprised in-depth interviews with Gen Z travelers (Study 1) and three between-subjects experiments (Studies 2–4). Key findings revealed that the interaction effect of high (vs. low) trust in Instagram marketplace and sponsored (vs. non-sponsored) posts resulted in higher trust in sellers when a virtual influencer was deployed than when a human influencer was deployed. In addition, trust in sellers was found to play a significant mediating role in the relationship between Gen Z travelers’ trust in Instagram marketplace and purchase intentions. These findings are pioneering insights into the effects of virtual influencers on Instagram from a marketing perspective.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Keywords

  • Gen Z traveler
  • Instagram marketplace
  • human influencer
  • trust transfer theory
  • virtual influencer

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