How do consumers want to read travel reviews?

Like 95% of travelers, I read reviews before booking a hotel. The hotel experience can make or break a trip, and I want to be sure I’ve got top-notch accommodations.

NB: This is an analysis by Margaret Ady, vice president of marketing at TrustYou.

That said, reading review after review can be time-consuming and then, after looking at a handful of them, I’m often left feeling even more confused about what to expect from the hotel than before. One reviewer says that the rooms are stylish, the next says they aren’t clean, and so on.

However, there is a way that sites can present reviews to consumers which can generate trust and increase bookings.

TrustYou, in conjunction with Donna Quadri-Felitti, Academic Chair and Clinical Associate Professor at NYU, School of Professional Studies Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, recently ran a consumer study to better understand the role of reviews in the travel planning process.

The report looked at consumer preferences when using reviews to make travel purchases, evaluating their time investment, issues around confidence and trust, and the mobile experience.

Specifically, the study compared user experiences with review summaries versus traditional full text reviews.

Travelers told us that summarized review content increases their trust while substantially decreasing the amount of time required to read and digest review content.

Importantly, summaries are the most mobile-friendly way for travelers to take in reviews. The findings indicate a true shift occurring in the way travelers want their review content delivered.

Here’s what you should know about presenting travel reviews for the highest booking conversions:

Traveler’s Review Habits

  • 95% of respondents read reviews before to booking
  • Leisure travelers read an average of 6-7 reviews before booking;business travelers readan average of 5
  • Leisure travelers spend an average of 30 minutes reading reviews before booking; 10% of travelers spend more than one hour reading reviews

How to Present Travel Reviews

  • 52% of respondents said summarized review content is the most user friendly way to read reviews
  • 80% said summarized reviews are time efficient, while only 59% said the same for full text reviews
  • 72% said summarized review content is mobile friendly, and 61% said they would prefer to see only summarized review content when booking on a mobile device

NB1 This is an analysis by Margaret Ady, vice president of marketing at TrustYou. It appears here as part of Tnooz’s sponsored content initiative.

NB2: The full report is available for free download here. The study was conducted using an online survey panel of 510 travelers, all of whom traveled during the past 12 months for leisure, business, or both. Respondents were evaluated two different presentations of reviews and described their user experience with each, rating their confidence level in making a booking decision.

NB3: TrustYou searches, analyzes and distills hundreds of millions of opinions scattered across this vast, fragmented market. Our products are extensively used by suppliers – hotels, accommodations, restaurants – to provide travelers with better services and enhanced offerings by monitoring, surveying and acting upon all worldwide guest feedback. Travel intermediaries – OTAs, meta-search, destination marketers – use TrustYou’s Meta-Reviews to help travelers purchase wisely. TrustYou’s Meta-Reviews are based solely on verified travel reviews. They do not include data from TripAdvisor.

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NB4: Tablet image by Shutterstock

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Margaret Ady

About the Writer :: Margaret Ady

Margaret Ady serves as vice president of marketing at TrustYou, a big data and online reputation management company specializing in the hospitality industry.

She graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in Economics and Psychology, and where she was awarded the Annenberg Communications Pathway Grant for her research in new technology and its impact on healthcare decision-making.

Previously, Margaret served in leadership positions at The Walt Disney Company and The Oprah Winfrey Network and has provided research, branding and consulting services to 20th Television (Fox), Nielsen and many other companies in FMCG/Entertainment/IT industries.



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  1. Anita

    I think it comes down to the weight of the decision to be made – for a special occasion or high-value purchase you will spend more time researching… the less important the outcome, the less time spent trawling through long reviews.

  2. John Reiss

    This study uncovers what consumers say they do online very well. Unfortunately what people say they do and what they actually do are rarely align. This very problem is solved by combining survey data with online behavioral data (via consumer click stream panels like Millward Brown Digital / Please contact me if you’d like to understand more about this very important/actionable delta: jreiss [at] compete [dot] com.


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