Published on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review sites only influence small minority, claims new study

Only 7% of customers use online reviews to help them decide on a holiday, even though 86% book their trips online, according to a new study.

It also found the number of people booking on the internet decreased by 4% between October 2016 and May this year, and the number using travel comparison sites was down 5% to 73%.

Jason Hulott, director of Speedie Consultants which carried out the study, said: "One of the main things that jumped out at us what that only 7% used hotels reviews to help them with a booking decision - yet we see huge campaigns for hotels and resorts to get reviews.

"While we see reviews as important, there are other things that would have a bigger impact such as making sure your site visitors can book with you online, which a quarter of people surveyed said they couldn't do with the hotel of their choice."

The majority of those booking holidays online said both the description and images were equally important and 37% said a video of a hotel helped their decision to book, which was an increase of 10% over last October.

However, more than a quarter already knew where they wanted to stay.

Of those who didn't book online, one in 10 found a hotel's website too hard to navigate, 20% worry about the security of a website and 20% find the online booking process too long. A quarter said their hotel had no online booking facility.

Hulott added there was 'huge potential' for building hotel loyalty.

"Getting to a potential customer before they go to a search engine or travel portal must be the 'holy grail' for any hotel so we are suggesting companies look at ways of staying in front of mind all year round. Maybe newsletters, social media or content marketing plans should be considered."

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