Pictured: Matt Eames at the Travolution Summit
Authenticated reviews platform Feefo estimates £3.6 billion is being spent by UK travel consumers having read fake reviews.
The firm was quoting figures from the Competitions and Markets Authority as it works on an investigation into fake reviews in the UK.
This has established that £23 billion is spent annually by UK consumers following the reading of reviews.
The travel sector accounts for £14.4 billion of this pot and 25% of reviews in the industry are considered to be fake.
Matt Eames, Feefo’s chief commercial officer, told the Travolution Summit fake reviews are an increasing problem with 83% of holiday shoppers’ decisions said to be influenced by reviews.
And he said suspicion of fake reviews is heightened when a site shows no bad reviews while shoppers who see a bad review spend on average four times longer on a site than those who don’t.
“Both positive and negative reviews can be good for business,” said Eames. “They [consumers who see them] will also convert 67% more highly than the average consumer.
“A third suspect censorship or fake reviews when they don’t see bad scores. Only 5% won’t buy from you.
“Companies spend billions on reputation management when they could be getting their customers to do their work for them.”