Frankly, we have always known that most people aren’t really compulsive buyers. And now a new survey that was carried out by PhoCusWright confirms it. According to the results of their survey, most travelers visit TripAdvisor to read reviews before making their bookings. In fact, reviews seem so important now that more than 50% of travelers won’t book a hotel that has not yet been reviewed.
Nearly one third of travelers (29%) visit the website often to find out what others are saying about the property they have in mind, while 12% check at least once a month, 12% check once a week, and a staggering 26% check more than once a week. This makes it an incredible 67% of travelers who check TripAdvisor regularly to monitor hotel reviews.
As far as review websites go, TripAdvisor comes out as an overwhelming favorite, with 77% of travelers turning to that single website before making hotel bookings. It’s impressive for restaurant and attraction bookings as well, for which 50% of travelers refer to TripAdvisor reviews for restaurant bookings and 44% do so for attraction selections.
PhoCusWright has also divulged some interesting facts about why people write reviews and how these reviews come handy while people are making travel plans.
People at TripAdvisor know about this trend already. They understand that reviews play an important part in travel planning, and this study only validates their point. The chief marketing officer of TripAdvisor, Barbara Messing, says that travelers these days are more social and highly engaged. Management responses to the reviews have also become more important.
Of the travelers surveyed, 87% agree that a quick and correct management response improves impression. On the other hand, if the management response to a bad review is aggressive or defensive, then 70% of people will not be inclined to book the hotel.
How many reviews are usually adequate to convince a traveler to book a property? 80% of respondents say that there should be at least 6 to 12 reviews, and most people are interested in the reviews that have been posted recently. As for restaurants, 20% people read more than 11 reviews. Keep in mind that most people tend to ignore extreme comments, shrugging them off as one-off occasions.
Another thing that is important to travelers is photos—in fact, 73% of those surveyed say that traveler-submitted photos are very important in tipping the scales, because these pictures help them decide and give them an accurate view of what a property looks like. Awards count too. In fact, 65% of the respondents are more likely to go with hotels that have won TripAdvisor awards.
One interesting fact that was found in the survey is that reviews are most popular in Spain, where the largest number of travelers read reviews before booking.
So, what can you take out of this study?
1. Encourage your guests to review your property once they depart.
2. Always check the reviews you receive online and respond to them.
3. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely you are to gain new business.