TripAdvisor has revealed the results of a global survey of 12,000 people conducted by PhoCusWright on behalf of the travel site in December 2013.
The findings show that TripAdvisor plays a huge part in the decision process when guests are choosing a hotel. It also emphasises the significance of management responses to poor reviews.
1. Most travellers check TripAdvisor before booking
Out of 12,000 people surveyed, more than three quarters (77%) said they usually or always reference TripAdvisor before selecting a hotel.
Nearly half of travellers would also reference the site before selecting a restaurant (50%) or attraction (44%).
2. 67% of respondents check TripAdvisor several times a month
Respondents turn to TripAdvisor on a regular basis – 29% visit the site several times a month, 12% say they check the site at least once a week and 26% regularly use the site more than once a week.
3. Reviews provide welcome confidence boost
More than 80% of respondents said the site’s reviews help them feel more confident in their travel decisions, and help them to have a better trip.
Of those polled, 93% feel that a hotel stay is very important to the overall trip experience.
4. Management responses increasingly important
• 87% of users agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review “improves my impression of the hotel”
• 70% of users agree that an aggressive/defensive management response to a bad review “makes me less likely to book that hotel”
• 62% of users agree that seeing hotel management responses to reviews generally “makes me more likely to book it (versus a comparable hotel that didn’t respond to travellers)”
5. How many reviews is enough?
• When researching places to stay on TripAdvisor, 80% of respondents read at least six-12 reviews before making their decision, and they’re most interested in recent reviews that will give them the freshest feedback
• When researching restaurants or local attractions on TripAdvisor, one in five (20%) travellers read more than 11 reviews before making a decision.
6. How travellers use reviews
More than half of respondents (53%) will not book a hotel that does not have reviews. But how do travellers interpret reviews? When asked how they tend to use TripAdvisor, a few key elements came to the forefront: traveller-submitted photos and TripAdvisor awards can tip the scale for properties, but in general, extreme comments in reviews are ignored.
7. Encourage guests to get snappy
When asked about traveller submitted photos, 73% of respondents said they look at these as they help them make choices.
• 65% of respondents are more likely to book hotels that win awards from TripAdvisor.
• 64% of respondents tend to ignore extreme comments when reading reviews
Furthermore, 31% of respondents said they would avoid eating at restaurants that do not have any reviews.
8. Why review?
The majority of respondents write reviews for positive reasons, with 74% of travellers stating that they ‘feel good about sharing useful information with other travellers’ and 70% of respondents stating that they wanted to share a good experience with other travellers’.
9. Price comparison in practice
When asked about TripAdvisor’s recently-launched Hotel Price Comparison function (meta search), 51% agree that it ‘has helped me save time during my planning process’ and 52% agree that TripAdvisor’s meta search ‘has helped me find the right hotel at the right price’.
10. How do we differ across the globe?
• TripAdvisor users in Italy are among the most active restaurant review readers. Seventy five percent “always” or “usually” reference TripAdvisor before choosing a restaurant, followed by Spain (60%), UK (53%) and the U.S. (46%).
• TripAdvisor users in India are most likely to avoid booking hotels with no reviews.
• When browsing reviews on TripAdvisor, respondents are most likely focus on recent reviews (both positive and negative) to get the freshest perspective. Respondents in Russia and Japan were the only two markets to prefer to read a lot of reviews (multiple pages) to get an overall sense of people’s opinions.
• TripAdvisor users in Spain read the most hotel reviews before booking. Thirty four percent read 11 or more hotel reviews before deciding on a hotel.
• Roughly seven in 10 (69%) Brazil respondents are more likely to book a hotel that has hotel management responses, significantly higher than most other markets.
TripAdvisor chief marketing officer Barbara Messing said: “Globally, travellers want to see pictures, they like to book properties that have a lot of accolades, and they like to read the most recent reviews to get a fresh perspective of the hotel, restaurant or attraction.
“The results underpin the need for business owners to not only monitor their online reputation, but to engage as much as possible with their past and potential customers. The benefits are clear – the more engaged the property, the more likely travellers are to book,” added Messing.