A global study of travellers’ trip research habits has found websites with customer reviews are the most trusted source of information.
Text100 polled 4,600 people in 13 countries for the Insight: Travel and Tourism report who had taken a leisure trip in the last 12 months or intended to in the next 12 months.
The results revealed that over three quarters of people think having independent reviews is important.
The survey found widespread use of traditional travel agents during the research phase with 39% saying they used them to help them choose a destination.
However, a larger proportion said they used online travel sites and tourist board websites, 46% and 41% respectively.
In addition 44% of respondents said they strongly agreed that internet reviews by travel bloggers helped with the initial decision of destination.
Behind bloggers was online travel forums (37%), Facebook (27%), Youtube/Vimeo (24%), Pinterest (22%) and Twitter (21%).
Asked what was the single most important source of information critical to the decision process, 37% said recommendations from family and friends.
Only a third cited that loyalty programmes influenced their choice while deal sites also figured low down the list. Sales and promotions came in fourth place.
The Text100 report states: “Campaigns to influence choice of vacation destinations need to be integrated across traditional, web and social media platforms with key focus on the target audience’s direct circle of influence – their friends and family.
“Online information is gaining in prominence with traditional travel agents becoming less important comparatively but still relevant.
“Blogs were the most highly rated of the social media platforms on their influence on destination choices and finer details of the trip.
“This is likely due to the level of trust in the source as well as accessibility of information.”