Applications of clickstream information in estimating online user behavior

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Hotle, Susan Lisa
Garrow, Laurie A.
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The internet has become a more prominent part of people’s lives. Clickstream and other online data have enabled researchers to better understand consumers’ decision-making behavior in a variety of application areas. This dissertation focuses on using clickstream data in two application areas: the airline industry and the field of education. The first study investigates if airline passengers departing from or arriving to a multi-airport city actually consider itineraries at the airports not considered to be their preferred airport. It was found that customers do consider fares at multiple airports in multi-airport cities. However, other trip characteristics, typically linked to whether a customer is considered business or leisure, were found to have a larger impact on customer behavior than offered fares at competing airports. The second study evaluates airline customer search and purchase behavior near the advance purchase deadlines, which typically signify a price increase. Search and purchase demand models were constructed using instrumented two-stage least squares (2SLS) models with valid instruments to correct for endogeneity. Increased demand was found before each deadline, even though these deadlines are not well-known among the general public. It is hypothesized that customers are able to use two methods to unintentionally book right before these price increases: (1) altering their travel dates by one or two days using the flexible dates tools offered by an airline’s or online travel agency’s (OTA) website to receive a lower fare, (2) booking when the coefficient of variation across competitor fares is high, as the dynamics of one-way and roundtrip pricing differ near these deadlines. The third study uses clickstream data in the field of education to compare the success of the traditional, flipped, and micro-flipped classrooms as well as their impacts on classroom attitudes. Students’ quiz grades were not significantly different between the traditional and flipped classrooms. The flipped classroom reduced the impact of procrastination on success. In the end, it was found that micro-flipped was most preferred by students as it incorporated several benefits of the flipped classroom without the effects of a learning curve.
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