Companies use social media differently according to their mental models and specific historical antecedents. Accordingly, service providers’ online interactions with customers can produce different results in terms of value creation. This qualitative study explores the provider’s role in value (co)-creation in social-media contexts. More specifically, it analyses providers’ reactions (i.e. responses and non-responses) to usergenerated reviews and investigates what type of value creation derives from the customer-provider online interaction. For this purpose, we collected hotel responses publicly available on TripAdvisor, using the web-based ethnography method. To analyse the data, we combined the social media sensemaking model proposed by Rydèn et al. with the value-creation framework proposed by Grönroos and Voima. The findings contribute to the literature about online value co-creation by suggesting a taxonomy of providers’ reactions to online reviews. As regards managerial implications, we provide recommendations for formulating responses to online reviews.
Keywords: Social media sensemaking, value creation, complaint management, TripAdvisor, hotel service quality, provider-customer interaction