Perceived image study with online data from social media: the case of boutique hotels in China

Wanfei Wang, Shun Ying, Jiaying Lyu*, Xiaoguang Qi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to deconstruct the multi-faceted dimensions of Chinese travellers’ image of boutique hotels with a large amount of online textual data from social media (53,427 reviews written from 2014 to 2018), reinforcing the value creation of user-generated content via social media. Design/methodology/approach: With the aid of Python, a computer language, online textual reviews (53,427 reviews) of 86 high-end boutique hotels in seven cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Qingdao and Sanya) were collected from the top-ranked online travel agency in China, Then, the overall perceived image of boutique hotels was revealed with the aid of Python. Findings: The results showed multiple dimensions of the image of boutique hotels. The overall image can be grouped into eight dimensions (room, service, food, environment, entertainment, location, price and value, and uniqueness). An affective image based on eight dimensions was further developed in the Chinese boutique hotel context. It appears that online data from social media are beneficial for hotel managers to learn travellers’ overall perceptions of boutique hotels and help put more effective management strategies in place in the hospitality industry. Research limitations/implications: The relationship between cognitive image and affective image should be further investigated in future research. Theoretical implications are discussed from both cognitive image and affective image perspectives in the boutique hotel context. Managerial implications are highlighted to help industry managers understand the travellers’ perceptions of the hotels, via online data from social media, and put more effective hotel strategies in hospitality industry. Originality/value: By using textual online data from social media, this paper deconstructs both the cognitive image and the affective image of boutique hotels. The dimensions of the most frequently mentioned concepts related to the Chinese boutique hotel industry are profoundly deconstructed, as is the uniqueness of the image of boutique hotels. The work is valuable for promoting effective marketing strategies in the hotel industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-967
Number of pages18
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective image
  • Boutique hotel
  • Cognitive image
  • Social media
  • Textual data


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