Booking Holidays: With and Without Customer Review Trust

Booking Holidays: With and Without Customer Review Trust

We’ve said it time and time again, but trust matters. Travel is one industry where this is particularly true.

Trips don’t come with a preview – you just pay and go. And that’s why customer reviews are so powerful, to potential customers and to travel businesses.

See how travelling with or without trust could affect your holiday in our cool infographic (starring a cartoon version of Trustpilot CEO Peter Mühlmann). Want your own version of the infographic? Just download it here.

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Infographic: Text version

THE TRAVEL BUYING JOURNEY: WITH AND WITHOUT TRUST

In this age of digital word-of-mouth though, holidaymakers are relying less on marketing messaging to inform them, and are increasingly turning to trust signals in the online space.

77% of consumers consult online reviews before making a purchase.

And the benefits of online research for the consumer are clear as the following story of two fictional families reveals. Both want a great value package holiday... but each takes a very different route to their final destination.

WITH TRUST

The family researches which high street/online travel agent has the best reputation by using online review communities and Facebook/Twitter friends’ recommendations, plus checks in with price comparison websites, hoping for value for money.

The holidaymakers are impressed by the best holiday for the cheapest price – but researching the details of the package using TripAdvisor and Trustpilot reveals that not all is quite as it seems…

Instead, the family choose another holiday based on the reviews of the agent, hotel and the surrounding area’s facilities plus where the beach actually is…

The family arrives and discovers… exactly what they booked.

The holidaymakers talk to their rep about booking an excursion and because they researched the holiday company, they aren’t surprised to discover that the reps are eager to help.

It’s the last night and the family is sad about leaving…

… and promise that they’ll use the same agent again next year.

The family returns home, refreshed, happy… and full of bonhomie.

In fact, they’ve got so much of it that they want to share it with everyone.

The family heads out online, posting positive reviews on online review communities and on their social channels; a friend books a similar holiday through the agent based on the family’s recommendation.

Everyone wins from the holidaymaker to the travel agent and critically, the travel industry as a whole.

WITHOUT TRUST

The family heads to the nearest high street/online travel agent plus checks in with price comparison websites, hoping for value for money.

The prospective holidaymakers choose the best holiday for the cheapest price – it looks like a great hotel, has a big pool and the beach is ‘at the end of the road’. The family books their holiday.

The family arrives and discovers the hotel is a building site, the pool has the same standard of hygiene as a dog’s water bowl and the beach really is ‘at the end of the road’; the road just happens to be very, very long…

The holidaymakers try to talk to their rep but are stonewalled – if they had researched, they’d have known that these reps are more interested in partying than their customers.

It’s the last night and the family can’t wait to get the hell out of there…

The family returns home, exhausted, angry… and in need of a holiday.

They contact their travel agent, who eventually offers £100 off their next holiday – so long as the holidaymaker books their next vacation through them.

The family heads online, posting negative reviews on their social channels and in online review communities. Too late, they discover that they’re not the only ones who had a lousy experience with the same travel company.

Everyone loses from the holidaymaker to the travel agent and critically, the travel industry as a whole.

Takeaways

  • Companies that ignore digital word-of-mouth risk being ignored by potential customers.
  • They must harness the power of online reviews, not fear them; provide a great service and consumers will hear about it.
  • Consumers are increasingly using reviews and trust signals to inform their buying choices.
  • They are researching every aspect of their holiday – from flight operators and hotels to the suntan lotion for the beach.