Turning Discounts Into Profits: Factors Influencing Online Purchasing Decisions for Hotel Add-on Items

Esther L. Kim, Sarah Tanford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A hotel website exclusive discount is widely adopted by major chain hotels to increase the volume of direct bookings. Although the traditional purpose of a discount promotion is to attract customers to the business, this research suggests that a hotel website exclusive price discount can induce consumers’ additional spending. Principles of mental accounting and two thinking styles (analytic vs. holistic) predict different effects of a price discount and the add-on product type by individual thinking styles. A quasi-experiment investigated the effect of an unexpected discount, relatedness of add-on item to a hotel stay, and individual thinking styles on add-on purchasing. The mediating role of impulse buying was subsequently examined using the PROCESS model. The effect of a price discount and the relatedness of add-on item are significant for analytic thinkers, whereas holistic thinkers report higher likelihood to purchase add-on items regardless of relatedness. Holistic thinkers’ likelihood to purchase is enhanced through an impulse buying tendency. The findings provide further evidence for the role of individual differences in response to pricing tactics by suggesting that a price promotion increases add-on purchases for analytic thinkers, whereas promoting a sense of impulsiveness can be more effective for holistic thinkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-454
Number of pages17
JournalCornell Hospitality Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • add-on item
  • discount
  • impulse buying
  • mental accounting
  • thinking style


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