The world’s biggest travel reviews site, TripAdvisor, recently conducted the world’s largest traveler survey. The result? TripBarometer: a comprehensive report covering travel attitudes and behaviors of consumers as well as the hotel industry’s plans and expectations for the year ahead.
TripBarometer is based on the results of a month-long survey conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by research firm StrategyOne. It takes into account the responses of 35,042 people, from 26 countries spanning 7 regions.
(Check out: “8 Terrific TripAdvisor Tips for Businesses”)
Here are some of the highlights of the report:
Reviews for planning: In the U.S., 76 percent of travelers rely on travel review websites and hotel review aggregators to help finalize their travel plans. Online sources, in general, are heavily depended upon by consumers. These sources include: online travel agencies (61 percent), travel operator sites (52 percent), and social media (23 percent).
Reviews matter: Indeed, online travel reviews are changing the entire industry. A staggering 93 percent of travelers worldwide say that their booking decisions are influenced by online reviews.
Not only are people reading about others’ hotel experiences; they’re also sharing their own. 51 percent of travelers worldwide have written an online review of a hotel or accommodation after their trip.
The people travelers trust: Confirming that word-of-mouth from inner social circles is still as powerful as any, TripBarometer found that 48 percent of travel planning in the US is based on the reviews and recommendations made by family and friends.
Businesses embracing reviews: In response to the power of reviews, 91 percent of hotel managers and property owners in the US are now inviting guests to submit reviews. Furthermore, 84 percent write management responses to negative hotel reviews, while 70 percent respond to positive reviews. 35 percent even invest in training so that their staff can encourage more positive reviews.
Freebie love: Free amenities go a long way in influencing booking decisions. One of the most popular amenities? Access to the Internet: in fact, 86 percent say it’s important for hotels and accommodations to offer free Wi-Fi. People also love free breakfasts (80 percent) and free parking (70 percent).
“The TripBarometer has revealed useful insights into what global travellers are planning and shone a light on the areas where accommodation providers can do more to meet guests’ expectations,” said Christine Petersen, President of TripAdvisor for Business.
“With travelers choosing digital channels for their travel planning and research, traditional word of mouth has been amplified and online booking has become the norm across the globe. The next logical step is mobile, especially considering that travellers in some emerging markets are bypassing desktops and getting online for the first time using mobile devices. Furthermore, as travel budgets increase and U.S. accommodations increase room rates, it seems likely that the travel industry is poised to excel in the U.S. this year.”
Want to read more about how the Internet has changed the face of travel? Check out the awesome TripAdvisor infographic below: