Can online travel consumers believe what they read?
The potential for declining trust in consumer-led review sites
The widespread use of online review forums in the travel sector highlights the value placed by consumers on other people’s opinions and experiences when making purchasing decisions. Figures available for the UK market (alone) indicate 48% of consumers read reviews by other travellers when booking a holiday. This is even higher than the percentage who contributed to or used an online forum when making a purchase decision more generally.
Given reports suggesting that, in some cases, ‘unreliable’ or ‘mischievous’ content has been posted on forums, this article discusses the importance of building trust in a user-generated content environment, looks at how that may be achieved, and evaluates the market’s potential evolution.