The huge influence customer reviews can play in helping UK travellers choose their hotel has been underlined by a survey of Holiday Pirates users.
The social media deals platform asked 1,000 of its UK users for their views on reviews and what motivates people to read them and write them.
It found 70% of customers will search for reviews from previous customers before making their decision to book their next trip, hotel stay, or restaurant visit.
More than half of customers (58%) said they trust an online customer review as much as a personal recommendation.
And 96% of respondents said that the reviews will always or sometimes impact their decision to book their next trip, hotel stay, or restaurant visit. Just 3% said they do not.
Only 12% of those who took part in the survey said they never write a review citing a belief it will not make an impact, too much time has elapsed or the experience was neither good nor bad.
According to the respondents, more than three quarters of customers will publish an online review of an establishment or stay following their holiday.
The primary motivation was that the customer had a positive experience and wanted others to benefit, or they wanted to contribute to the collective knowledge of other visitors.
But a positive experience on its own is not sufficient enough incentive for customers to leave a review.
When asked what motivational factors offered by hotels or restaurants might most encourage customers to contribute a review, respondents said:
1. The promise of an offer, such as a future discount
2. A ‘thank you for the visit’ email, without explicitly asking for a review
3. A recommendation on which review site would be preferred by the establishment
David Armstrong, HolidayPirates chief executive said: “Reviews can offer crucial insight into what customers think about your establishment.
“But with the growing impact reviews have, and the pressure to receive them, it is easy to become too pushy with urgent requests for a review even before the customer has left the site, and this can seriously backfire.
“Customers mean everything to a business and we hope that this insight can help the travel and hospitality industry better understand why and how to ask for a review.”