Review websites
2 years ago

Survey reveals half of users do not trust travel review websites

Content is STILL proving to be the king. About 60% of review website users pay more attention to customer comments rather than to the numerical or star ratings reviewers provided.

But there is a flip-side.

A study by market research firm Maritz Research was conducted during April this year among 3,400 people who regularly use review websites such as TripAdvisor, Zagat, Open Table, Yelp and

Trust factor with review websites

Larger review sites like TripAdvisor and Zagat are trusted higher compared to smaller players. The chart below chart shows the percentage of users who say the information on review sites is accurate.

Review website - Trust factor

Trust factor with review content

Below graph shows the percentage of users who think the review content is positive, negative, and neutral.

Review website - Content trust

Below are few opinion pointers from the survey respondents:

  • I can usually tell when a review is fake – if it is overly positive.
  • If there are not enough reviews, I don’t usually take it seriously.
  • I think that people tend to only share either the good or the bad which usually does not give you a real balanced opinion.
  • I believe the site is selective in the reviews it posts.
  • Some are credible some are biased or questionable.
  • Generally reliable if one disregards the top 5% and the bottom 5-10% of comments.
  • Take everything with a little skepticism but if enough people say it then more believable.
  • I believe that a lot of the information is put there by people who work for the companies to show positive information

The study also says that 60% of review site users pay more attention to the review content, 11% pay more attention to numerical ratings and 29% of users pay attention to both equally.

Trust factor by user demographic parameters

Below graph shows the percentages of users by age group that feel the content in review sites are a fair representation of customers’ experiences.

In most of the cases, the trust factor is directly proportional to users age.

Review website - Age vs trust in site

73% of men and 78% of women think the information in review sites are a fair representation of customers’ experiences.

Read vs write

Below graph shows the percentage of total respondents who had read and posted reviews last year. TripAdvisor, and Yelp has the highest readers and contributors too.

Review website - Read vs post reviews

NB1: Maritz survey report can be downloaded here – Part 1 and Part 2.

NB2: Review image via Shutterstock.

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Karthick Prabu

About the Writer :: Karthick Prabu

Karthick is general manager for Tnooz in Asia, based in Bangalore.

He has previously worked for Port of Singapore Authority, SITA, TravelCLICK, Rezopia, Travelocity, MindTree and Happiest Minds Technologies.

Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.



  1. Thomas Crook

    I would have expected the and Priceline reviews to be perceived as more trustworthy, since both sites only allow reviews from people who have actually made a paid booking at a hotel. I hypothesize that the general public is calibrating their level of trust in reviews according to their trust in the site that hosts them. Since TripAdvisor is not perceived as a booking site, it is not seen to be “selling” hotel rooms as and Priceline are. Thus users somehow see TripAdvisor as a less biased source of information, even though it is easier and cheaper for fake reviewers to post a review to TripAdvisor than to and Priceline.

  2. Sarah Hughes

    I think it’s probably the case that reviews are a ‘necessary evil’, in that we would all certainly miss them and desire them if they weren’t there!

    I like to think a balance of information, as long as it’s consumable, is best. Crowd-sourced reviews (multiple sources), social footprint, expert opinion, owner viewpoint. Add to that sentiment data (good old-fashioned tagging) and you create texture. Some of the information is factual and static, some is dynamic and more susceptible to bias but the two balance each other well – do you agree?

    The user will usually employ personal methods to make a judgement, and some are better equipped to do this than others. I think the ‘opinion pointers’ above are great, because they show independent thinking about what is being read!

  3. Jatin Chhabra

    Well I never trust ant review site before booking an accommodation. For its always the brand name.


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