Is planning through the Internet (un)related to trip satisfaction?

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The relationship between Internet use and trip satisfaction has up to now been tested only with subjective variables regarding the Internet (e.g., e-satisfaction), not on actual Internet use. Subjective variables, including satisfaction, may share common variance and thus show spurious correlations. The aim of this article is to test the relationship between trip satisfaction and actual Internet use for planning and booking accommodation and activities in overseas trips. We use a large sample (n = 14,586) of official statistics micro data of European leisure visitors to Spain in 2014 planning the trip by themselves and arriving by low cost airlines. We use structural equation models with ordinal variables and statistical power analysis. We include trip characteristics as controls, and carry out a sensitivity analysis of the conclusions by varying the set of controls and sample selection. We find barely no relationship between pre-trip Internet use and trip satisfaction. Power analysis and confidence intervals combined with the large available sample show that the relationship is either null or extremely weak. Sensitivity analyses keep conclusions unchanged. Our null results contradict prior expectations on a relationship which the literature takes for granted but has never been put to test. More detailed measurements of both Internet use and trip satisfaction could be considered in further research ​
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