OTA sites getting biggest share of consumer reviews

Online travel agencies are taking over from travel review sites as the place to post content, according to a study by PhoCusWright.

The Social Media in Travel report reveals that OTAs accounted for 74% of all reviews in the second half of 2009. In the first six months of 2008 specialist review sites accounted for the majority, with a 51% share.

According to the report 700,000 reviews were posted across the largest OTA’s websites in 2009 compared to less than 250,000 on travel review sites.

Of those posted on travel review sites, TripAdvisor accounted for eight out of every 10.

The shift in behaviour was consistent across all hotel categories, but most pronounced in the five-star category, where 44% of reviews were posted on OTA sites in 2009 compared with 23% in 2008.

The recession is believed to have had a significant impact on the change in behaviour, with three and four-star hotels increasing in both volume and share of reviews and luxury properties seeing a decline.

The report also shows that the travel review sector is consolidating. In 2008 three OTAs and three travel review specialists accounted for 83% of all reviews. In 2009 the figure fell to three OTAs and one travel review site.

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