Two out of three ‘always’ use review sites before booking

Two out of three UK holidaymakers study online consumer reviews of hotels or resorts “always” or “often” before booking an overseas holiday, according to research for Travel Weekly.

Yet only one in five often contribute reviews, with 78% saying they do so “sometimes” or “never”. That would suggest a minority of consumers have a disproportionate influence on others.

At the same time, the survey of 500 holidaymakers by Explore Research found travel trade sources cited almost as much (17%) as consumer reviews (20%) when people were asked to identify “the biggest single influence” on where they decide to go.

‘Friends and family’ appear an equally big factor, cited as the major influence by 17% of respondents.

The travel trade sources were divided between travel company websites (8%), brochures (6%) and direct contact with a travel agent or tour operator (3%).

TV and newspapers (1%) barely registered as an influence. Price was the biggest factor according to 29% of respondents.

Those aged 35-54 appear most likely to be influenced by consumer reviews, with 30% of this group rating them the biggest single influence against 20% among 18-34 year olds and 11% among over 55s.

However, younger holidaymakers appear more likely to contribute reviews: the research finding 37% of 18-34 year olds contribute reviews “always” or “often” and 47% “sometimes” against 23% contributing always or often among 35-54 year olds.

That could mean younger adults are having a disproportionate influence on the travel choices of older holidaymakers.Holidaymakers over 55 appear least interested in contributing consumer reviews, almost half saying they never do so and half “sometimes”.

Explore Research surveyed 500 UK adults who had taken an overseas break in the last two years or were planning one. The survey was carried out on June 15-17.

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