Priming Social Media and Framing Cause-Related Marketing to Promote Sustainable Hotel Choice
Hotels utilize cause-related marketing (CRM) to attract consumers by advertising green practices. However, CRM does not always result in the intended outcomes. In online settings, customer-generated cues transmitted through social media can influence responses to company-generated CRM. Two psychological processes can operate to influence the effect of online cues on decision processes: priming and framing. The current research used an online survey in which priming and framing were varied in a simulated hotel-booking scenario. Affective priming was activated using an Instagram post with positive or negative environmental content. CRM framing consisted of a hotel advertisement describing its sustainability practices as producing environmental benefit or preventing environmental harm. Structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed that positive affective priming and positively framed CRM advertising produce a favorable hotel image, which in turn leads to higher booking intention. Moreover, pro-environmental attitudes magnify the effects of image on multiple outcomes, including booking intention, willingness-to-pay more, and word-of-mouth. The findings will help operators develop effective marketing strategies and leverage social media to promote their business while protecting the environment.