ABSTRACT

to have more interest in researches on customers’ behavior. This research was to investigate empirically WOM effects on the intention of Chinese customers when they select an international medical tourism destination. Interestingly, WOM effects on their choice and decision process may vary by the extent of their severity of illness. Research design, data, and methodology – The data was collected from 1,747 potential Chinese residents in main districts of China. Moderated regression analysis was used to estimate WOM effects on Chinese customers’ choice intention. Results – Results imply that WOM determinants of tie strength, credibility, and vividness do interact with medical tourism information and affect customers’ intention for health care abroad. Results also reveal that the severity of illness plays a critical moderating role in customers’ decision process. Conclusions – WOM and the severity of illness are important moderators for Chinese customers to make a decision for medical tourism. It provides some implications for service organizations for developing and implementing marketing strategies in international health care markets.

KEYWORD

Tie Strength, Credibility, Vividness, Severity of Illness, Medical Tourism Information, Destination Choice Intention

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