1 in 4 UK consumers use Tripadvisor before they book their holiday

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In the last year, almost 1 in every 4 UK holidaymakers used Tripadvisor to research their holiday before they booked. Given the plurality of information now out there – online and offline – for people to research and get advice on their travel choices, this number is very high. One in four UK consumers are using the same source to get information that influences what is usually a significant purchase. And this source is generated by other consumers, it is a classic online community.

The research, from WTM’s 2010 Industry Report, found that 36% of UK consumers used some kind of social media to research locations, hotels, airlines and other purchases or decisions before booking a holiday. Of these consumers two-thirds used Tripadvisor, by far the most popular source of information, reviews or advice. A much smaller proportion (34% of all those who used social media to do research) used Facebook and even smaller proportions used YouTube (231%) or Twitter (17%). That over a third of all consumers are going to social media before booking their holidays indicates its increasing importance as a resource that informs and influences consumer decisions. That two-thirds of all of these (so 24% of all consumers) are using Tripadvisor shows the importance of that channel.

Tripadvisor is a classic online community. Consumers read reviews and information from others. They connect with people based on content and a common need, question, interest or concern. For example people who are interested in hotels in Paris can connect through the reviews – some writing them and some reading them. This is not a space where people become friends, and in most cases people don’t care who has written the reviews, they just care about the content. This makes Tripadvisor very scalable and is the reason more and more users are turning to it for information. For every piece of information that is added, any users who are interested in that content could benefit.

And more than just using these sites as an information source, consumers are making real decisions on the basis of them. The same research found that when a users researched their holiday choices in social media, less than half then went on to book their original choices. 35% decided to change their choice of hotel, 15% changed their travel agent or tour operator, and 12% decided to visit a different country altogether.

Holidays are typically an expensive purchase and one consumers think about and research before booking. This study shows that an increasingly large number are turning to social media to help them with this research, and most of them are turning to one site – Tripadvisor. And those that do this research are likely to change their plans and original travel decisions.

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8 Responses
  • Nov 15, 2010

    The same survey asked UK holidaymakers whether they would consult social media for their 2011 holiday plans and only 26% said they planned to do so. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. To quote the report (page 23):

    However, the travel and tourism
    industry’s focus and commitment to
    creating social media platforms to
    communicate with customers may be

    World Travel Market’s research of UK
    holidaymakers reveals they are not
    as enthused by social media as the

    Almost two-thirds of those UK
    holidaymakers polled said they did
    not use any form of social media
    while researching their 2010 holiday.
    Furthermore, less than a quarter (24%)
    expected to use social media to plan
    their 2011 holiday.

    Phil Nov 15, 2010
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  • Nov 18, 2010

    Hi Phil,
    Thanks so much for the comment. You are spot on to hold up the numbers for closer inspection (there is generally not enough of that in the social media industry).

    You are quite right to note that FAR more people won’t be using social media to book their holiday than will. A good dose of realism.

    But the reason I think 24% is a really impressive result for social media is that 5 years ago it would have been 0%. People have been booking holidays for decades, and in no time at all a huge shift has started to take place.

    The travel plans of 5 million households could be affected by social media next year. That is a massive figure by any measure and it is growing. I think that’s why we make the point that whilst still a minority activity, this is worthy of note.

    Or do you think we’re guilty of over-eggiing it?

    Thanks again for the reality-check

    Charlie Osmond Nov 18, 2010
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  • david
    Apr 9, 2011


    david Apr 9, 2011
  • Apr 22, 2011

    tripadvisor is so popular in uk

    tripadvisor uk Apr 22, 2011
  • […] great customer engagement. A great example of user generated content is Tripadvisor. A study by Fresh Minds found that one in four consumers use Tripadvisor before booking their […]


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