Travellers have ‘deep distrust’ of user reviews

British travellers have a deep sense of distrust over user review websites such as TripAdvisor and star-based holiday rating systems, according to a study out today.

Only 19% always trust postings on user-review sites and just 20% of holidaymakers trust holiday rating systems.

The research, commissioned by members-only site Jetsetter and conducted by Vision Critical, questioned 2,000 UK adults regarding holiday research and planning preferences.

Answers revealed that although holidaymakers are researching on user review sites like TripAdvisor, the sites are falling short of consumers’ needs.

Typical complaints about travel review sites include the anonymity of reviewers, with 13% not trusting who has written the comments and almost 20% not trusting reviews without knowing if the review-writer shared their own travel preferences and tastes.

The findings show that almost half of all holidaymakers say they have been let down by the star rating of a hotel, with its rating not reflected in the true quality of their own holiday experience.

Almost two thirds (59%) are willing to spend more on holiday accommodation and save on other elements of their holidays such as flights, airport transfers and restaurants. This means consumers need to be confident that the advice they are seeking is trustworthy, especially when they are spending the largest proportion of their holiday budget on accommodation.

Quality (21%) and price (30%) are key priorities when people book holidays, the research found.

Jetsetter Europe general manager Rob Deeming said: “I’d like to see a system where user comments are vetted so that only genuine reviews can be posted.

“These should be offered alongside objective, expert reviews from experienced travel writers in order to paint a complete picture of a hotel or destination.

“On, every hotel featured has been personally visited by a travel writer, who provides a comprehensive review of their experience.

“We also allow our members to post reviews, but only after they’ve stayed at the hotel, so we can be sure every user-generated review is authentic and relevant to other members worldwide.”

He added: “I don’t use star systems as they rarely reflect the aspects of a property that many people expect them to: quality of service, style and design, and location – critical factors when choosing a hotel that’s right for you.

“With separate star systems in different countries, relying on star ratings can be a big risk, as most systems take into consideration hotel facilities such as lifts, gyms or night porters – features which in most cases have little to do with the actual standard of the hotel or whether you will enjoy your stay.”

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