The research from Allianz highlights the importance of user-generated-reviews in a traveller’s decision making process, with the survey showing that four out of five (77 per cent) Americans who are confident they will take a vacation this year, find other travellers reviews to be ‘trustworthy’. Just one in six (16 per cent) find them ‘not trustworthy’ and less than one in 10 (seven per cent) aren’t sure how they feel about traveller reviews. According to the survey, released by Allianz Global Assistance USA, travel marketers should pay close attention to customer-generated reviews as they are a powerful force in how consumers decide where they will spend their vacation time and money.
The data also reveals that four in 10 travellers, and one in three Americans overall, share their own reviews online in some form. Topping the list of online sharing platforms is Facebook (27 per cent), followed by posting on travel review sites (15 per cent), social networking sites other than Facebook (11 per cent), consumer review sites (seven per cent), and a personal blog or website (six per cent).
Social media platforms also stand out as a place consumers go to find vacation ideas. The survey found Facebook to be the top destination for Americans looking for summer travel inspiration, used by 24 per cent of respondents confident they will take a summer vacation this year. TripAdvisor, with its user-generated-reviews, came in second place (18 per cent), but is rising, up four points from its position in the same survey taken two years ago. Pinterest was third and Twitter was fourth, with half of respondents saying they don’t use any social media platforms for inspiration, and two per cent don’t know if they do.
Age and geography are important indicators of whether consumers trust travel reviews, as the survey found Americans ages 18 to 34 are most likely to find user-generated reviews trustworthy (77 per cent), followed by middle-aged travellers aged between 35 and 54 (69 per cent), and seniors over the age of 55 (56 per cent). Geographically, travellers in the northeastern US are most likely to find travel reviews trustworthy (77 per cent), ahead of those in the midwest (69 per cent), the south (63 per cent) and the west (59 per cent).
“Traveller reviews often influence how and where consumers spend their vacation dollars,” said Joe Mason, chief marketing officer at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “From choosing a hotel to protecting a trip with travel insurance, it’s clear that consumers trust peer reviews and marketers would be wise to take note.”
Travel insurance reviews
In related news, InsureMyTrip, a US travel insurance comparison website, recently announced the expansion of its online customer ratings and reviews forum, with a growing database of over 20,000 ratings and candid opinions on travel insurance plans from real travellers. “Since launching our review platform, it has become an increasingly important part of the buying process. We believe this steady growth indicates that more are turning to InsureMyTrip ratings and reviews when researching travel insurance policies and using the platform to share their own experiences as thoughtful consumers,” said Jim Grace, CEO and President of InsureMyTrip.
According to Grace, honest feedback can help guide travellers towards a travel insurance plan that works best for their individual needs, “First-hand accounts may reveal why travellers chose a particular insurance plan over others, or how a particular policy played out in real-life scenarios. Consumers may also choose to write about their experience filing a claim or how a vacation destination swayed their travel insurance purchase. This information can then help other travellers as they evaluate what kind of travel insurance is right for them.”