The internet, and smart technologies, have caused a revolution in the way tourists choose their travel destination. Websites are replacing traditional promotional materials, 68% of consumers globally now exclusively book their travel online, and booking sites are taking a large portion of the market from traditional travel agencies.

Travellers are doing one other thing: during their decision-making process, they pay attention to reviews left by other customers. These are some statistics that you need to know about the phenomena:

According to a research done by MarkMonitor, 7 out of 100 travellers say they ended up with plans not in line with their expectations. In fact, 52% of travellers were so influenced by social media that they changed their original travel plans.

What’s interesting is that with booking made easier and more practical than ever, so did the complaint process.

Of those consumers who booked a holiday that fell short of their expectations, posting a negative review was their first reaction (42%), above trying to get a refund (40%) and complaining to a licensing body (35%) — demonstrating the power of online “word of mouth”.

Why is this important?

The online “word of mouth” is the key point in establishing online reputation. And online reputation can have direct influence on future bookings. Research has shown that 95% of respondents read reviews before booking, and as many as 93% of global travellers has said their booking decisions are influenced by online reviews.

According to SmartInsights, social media influenced a change in travel plans for 52% of travellers, while “80% are more likely to book a trip from a company “liked” by a friend than a conventional Facebook ad”.

Additionally, according to Webbed Feet, 92% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as social media, word of mouth, recommendation from friends and family – above all forms of advertising.

The rise of shared economy services like Airbnb made the reviews even more of a deciding factor, as these types of service typically rely heavily on reviews.

With the market share of Airbnb growing, attracting guests became even more difficult. To overcome problems like those, tourism workers had to adapt and find new ways to attract and keep their loyal customers.

What can you do to improve?

Quick response to any kind of online mention, especially to a review, is essential for the tourism industry. The best thing you can do in this situation is to reach out as soon as possible and politely respond. The customer will appreciate the time you took to assuage them, and other people reading reviews will see your response to the situation.

On average, a customer will look at 8 online reviews before deciding for a product. If the review is negative, give them a chance to hear your side of the story.

View your negative reviews as a valuable opportunity to learn about their needs and the quality of your service.

Overall, the Internet is making dealing with tourists both more demanding and more rewarding. If you want to hear of your options to reach more guests with media monitoring, sign up HERE. Our lovely specialists will give you a call.