Travel and tourism marketing: New research confirms importance of online reviews

6 in 10 travelers now rely on online reviews to help make their travel decisions.

More and more Americans are factoring in other travelers’ online reviews, and the more money they make the more they pay attention.

According to the third annual Access America Vacation Confidence Index recently released by Mondial Assistance USA,  6 in 10 travelers now factor in other traveler’s online reviews when deciding where to book a vacation.

With vacation spending expected to be up in the coming year, the Index predicts traffic at popular travel review and social media websites will be up as well.

So it’s important you stay on top of what people are saying about your travel and tourism brand online. And to work to influence what people write about you online. Here are the survey results:

8 in 10 people with HH incomes of $75K+ are influenced by online reviews

  • Travelers under 35 are most likely to say that online travel reviews influence their travel plans (74 percent) while those 55 and over are least likely to be influenced by reviews (44 percent).
  • Nearly 79 percent of respondents with a household income of $75,000 or more factor other travelers’ reviews into their own plans, while less than half of those with an income of under $25,000 do so (46 percent).

2 in 3 people trust other travelers’ reviews

  • Nearly two thirds of respondents (63 percent) find other travelers’ reviews to be trustworthy, while 29 percent are less trusting.
    • Travelers under 35 are more likely than those who are older to trust the travel reviews they read (70 percent vs. 54 percent).
    • Over three quarters of respondents with a household income of $75,000 or more (77 percent) find travel reviews to be trustworthy compared to just half of those with an income of under $25,000 (50 percent).

1 in 5 share their travel experiences on social networks

  • Among travelers who share reviews of their travel experiences online (24 percent of respondents), social networking sites such as Facebook are most popular.
  • Nearly one in five (18 percent) say that they share their travel experiences on social networks, more than double the proportion of those who post on travel review sites (eight percent).

The younger and wealthier you are, the more you share on social sites

  • Adults under 35 are more likely than those who are 35+ to share their travel experiences online (35 percent vs. 20 percent), particularly on social media sites (29 percent vs. six percent).
  • More affluent adults are also more likely to share about their travels.  More than a third of those with a household income of $75,000 or more (36 percent) share their travel reviews online
  • Compare that to 15 percent of those with a household income of less than $25,000, and they are twice as likely to use social networks to do so (24 percent vs. 12 percent).

Next week, I’ll post my top 10 favorite articles on how to improve the volume and quality of your online reviews.

In the meantime, tell us how these findings match up with your experience.

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