The global study, conducted in partnership with Ipsos MORI, polled over 23,000 TripAdvisor users across 12 markets on the use of online reviews and their role when booking hotels, restaurants and experiences.
The study reveals that the wisdom of the crowd remains the reason respondents visit TripAdvisor, with participating users citing the descriptive and helpful reviews (70%), the accuracy of the content (62%) and the broad range of travel content (62%) as their primary reasons for visiting the site.
Across hotel, restaurant and attraction reviews, more than four out of five (85%) participants report that the reviews they read on TripAdvisor accurately reflect their experience, with 86% agreeing that TripAdvisor makes them feel more confident in their booking decisions.
"These findings show how important travellers find real perspectives from real people when they are planning their trips,” said Becky Foley, Sr. Director, Trust and Safety at TripAdvisor. “While there are thousands of places to get travel information online, people keep coming back to TripAdvisor because they are guided by the reviews and can confidently plan the trip that’s right for them.”
The results show that traveller reviews remain a go-to source of information, with 72% of respondents always or frequently reading reviews before making a decision on places to stay and eat, or things to do. The figure is even higher when it comes to accommodation bookings, with four out of five participating travellers (81%) always or frequently reading reviews before booking a place to stay.
Nearly 8 out of 10 TripAdvisor users (79%) are more likely to book a hotel with a higher bubble rating when choosing between two otherwise identical properties, and over half (52%) agree that they would never book a hotel with no reviews.
When researching their travel, respondents indicate that the most important thing they are looking for when reading reviews is recent content. They want to know that what they are reading is a fresh perspective by a fellow traveller, with 78% focusing on the most recent reviews.
TripAdvisor users make thoughtful decisions, with nearly four out of ten respondents (39%) saying they ignore extreme comments, and over half of respondents (55%) reading multiple reviews across several pages to get an overall sense of people’s opinions. On average, TripAdvisor users read nine reviews before making a decision on booking a hotel or a restaurant.
The results of the research emphasise that TripAdvisor is not simply a place for people to air their grievances. When asked about their motivations for writing reviews and sharing their stories on TripAdvisor, the top reason given by 87% of people is that they want to share good experiences with fellow travellers; this is further supported by the fact that the average worldwide rating on TripAdvisor in 2018 was 4.22 out of five.
Foley adds: “With our minimum word count and candid photos, travellers are able to share their experiences and stories with other travellers, allowing our reviews to serve as a true guide during the planning process.”