It’s no surprise that travelers rely on reviews to gain a deeper perspective of what an experience offers. As an operator, reviews are often your best form of marketing and can make or break your business. Based on a Tripadvisor study conducted in partnership with Ipsos MORI, we’ve discovered deep insights into the way travelers interact with reviews, why they leave reviews, and the impact reviews have on their booking habits.

Let’s delve a little deeper into those statistics and go over some ways you can use this information to position your business for success.

Review sites are considered a highly trusted channel for advice

Percent of traveler responses, trusted channels for advice

  • 68%: Friends’ recommendations
  • 63%: Review sites
  • 39%: Guide books
  • 11%: Influencer

*Respondents could select multiple answers.

Trailing friends’ recommendations only slightly, travelers consider review sites as a very trusted source for advice when looking to book experiences. It can be tempting to start pouring money into marketing efforts (like the trendy idea of influencers) in an attempt to grow your business, but this statistic reveals that you may be better off focusing on building your reputation at first—which will help elicit positive reviews and increase word of mouth support.

Reviews are among the most important factors when booking

Percent of traveler responses, important factors when choosing an experience

  • 89%: Reviews
  • 89%: Amenities and descriptions
  • 88%: Location
  • 87%: Price
  • 83% Opening hours

*Respondents could select multiple answers.

In our survey, 89% of travelers selected Reviews as an important factor when they’re considering to book an experience. Reviews was the most-selected response, tied only with Amenities and descriptions. Of course, other factors like location and hours are also extremely important, but it may surprise you to realize that you have to pay attention to your reviews as much as your price! Encourage guests to leave reviews after doing your experience because that’s the best way to influence future bookers.

Importance of review date

  • 78% of travelers focus on recent reviews to get the freshest perspective

Similarly, a majority of respondents said that reading Tripadvisor reviews is either very or fairly important to them—and 78% say they focus on recent reviews for a fresh perspective. That means that even if you have a lot of reviews overall, you should always push for new ones. Travelers want to hear from people who have recently booked with you.

Travelers engage deeply with reviews—and leave reviews to give back to the community

How travelers engage with reviews/experiences

  • 79% of travelers surveyed said they view up to 10 experiences before making a decision, and also read up to 10 reviews for each experience

That’s a lot of research! Not just on your products (reading numerous reviews), but also looking at your competitors’ products and reading their reviews. This data shows that booking an experience is not a decision that is made lightly by travelers. Travelers really like to know what they can expect before they book, and that means reading reviews from like-minded travelers—and comparing different products/operators. You want your reviews to be the ones that stand out, either in volume and/or quality (travelers leaving really passionate/helpful reviews)—as well as being recent.

Why travelers leave reviews

  • 87% wanted to share a good experience with other travelers
  • 75% said they get good advice from reviews and wanted to give back
  • 64% wanted to make the operator aware of its strengths

*Respondents could choose multiple reasons.

So, what drives travelers to leave a review after their experience? Overwhelmingly, it’s the desire to give back to the community that provided them advice in the first place. The takeaway? Put yourself in the traveler’s shoes when asking for reviews. More than anything, your customer wants to let others know what to expect and why they should book with you. Encourage them to really paint a vivid picture about their experience and share with other travelers.

Any reviews are better than no reviews—and don’t worry about a few less than stellar reviews

  • 78% of travelers surveyed said they are more likely to book an experience with one or two bad reviews than one with no reviews

It may seem counterintuitive, but travelers are more likely to book an experience that has one or two negative reviews (assuming you also have some positive ones) than one with no reviews at all. What users are looking for with reviews is context and information. A reader can decide if they think a negative review is unfair or wouldn’t apply to them, but if there are no reviews then they have no information to use to inform their decision. This means you shouldn’t fret if one or two negative reviews pop up, travelers are very savvy and, as mentioned previously, are going to read plenty of your other reviews before making a final decision.

About the Author: Matt Ellis

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