Vast majority of TripAdvisor users read at least 6-12 reviews before choosing hotel

The big daddy of online reviews, TripAdvisor, is becoming terrifyingly important in a traveller’s decision making process.

In fact, more than half of travellers are not willing to book a hotel until they read reviews about the property.

In late 2013, on behalf of TripAdvisor, PhoCusWright commissioned an independent study among 12,000 travellers across the globe. The study analyzed the impact of online reviews on traveller’s trip planning stage.

TripAdvisor site popularity

According to the study, 29% of respondents visit the site several times a month, with 12% of users checking the site at least once a week and 26% regularly using the site more than once a week.

Overall, this means that 67% of respondents visit TripAdvisor a few times a month or more.

Why users access (read/write) TripAdvisor?

Majority of respondents write reviews for positive reasons, with 79% of UK travellers wanting to share a good experience with other travellers, and 70% feeling good about sharing useful information with other travellers.

More than 80% read at least 6-12 reviews before making their accommodation decisions, and they also think the site makes them feel confident in their travel decisions.

Respondents are most likely to focus on recent reviews (both positive and negative) to get the freshest perspective.

Interestingly, 93% of respondents feel that a hotel stay is very important to the overall trip experience.

However, TripAdvisor users are accessing the site for non-accommodation options too: 77% usually or always referencing the site before selecting a hotel, 50% doing the same before selecting a restaurant, and 44% for an attraction.

When researching restaurants or local attractions on TripAdvisor, one in five travellers read over 11 reviews before making a decision.

Impact of management responses

Recently, a Glasgow-based hotel sacked its manager for repeatedly turning down negative reviews about the hotel. Such is the importance given by hotel management on user reviews.

The study finds that management responses have a positive response in a traveller’s decision making process:

  • 87% of users say that an appropriate management response to a bad review improves their impression of the hotel
  • 70% of users say that an aggressive/defensive management response to a bad review makes them less likely to book that hotel
  • 62% of users say that seeing hotel management responses to reviews generally makes them more likely to book it, when compared to a hotel that didn’t respond to travellers

NB: Top tips for hotels when responding to reviews on TripAdvisor – here.

How travellers use TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor reviews have become a go or no-go tool for accommodation seekers, with 53% of respondents not willing to book a hotel that does not have reviews.

When asked about traveller submitted photos, 73% of respondents said they look at these as they help them make a decision.

Other interesting impact that TripAdvisor has on users:

  • 65% of respondents are more likely to book hotels that win awards from TripAdvisor
  • 64% of respondents tend to ignore extreme comments when reading reviews
  • 31% of respondents avoid eating at restaurants that do not have any reviews

Metasearch takes off well

Recently, TripAdvisor launched a hotel metasearch service. When asked respondents about this tool,

  • 51% said that it helped in saving time during the planning process
  • 52% said that it helped in finding the right hotel at the right price

Regional differences in TripAdvisor usage

  • TripAdvisor users in Italy are among the most active restaurant review readers. 75% always or usually reference TripAdvisor before choosing a restaurant, followed by Spain (60%), UK (53%) and the US (46%)
  • TripAdvisor users in India are most likely to avoid booking hotels with no reviews
  • Respondents in Russia and Japan were the only two markets to prefer to read multiple pages of reviews to get an overall sense of people’s opinions
  • Roughly seven in ten Brazil respondents are more likely to book a hotel that has hotel management responses, significantly higher than most other markets

Click on below infographic for a high-resolution version:

TripAdvisor - insights

NB: Bad review image via Shutterstock.

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Karthick Prabu

About the Writer :: Karthick Prabu

Karthick was general manager for Tnooz in Asia until September 2014.



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  1. Manoir des Alberges

    Very true regarding the comments of our guests but so difficult to get those damned comments : everybody reads otheŕs ´ but is reluctant to take few minutes to leave his own. All kinds of reminders, mails …are quite useless : once home, they go back to real life and forget about what they enjoyed few days before !


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