Travel and online bookings
Based on the study carried out by the University of Applied Sciences of IUBH, together with the tour operator TUI and the reputation management platform TrustYou, the answer is yes: online qualifications are decisive when deciding which holidays to book. And in a particular way, for trip and hotel bookings.
TrustYou is a company specialized in managing the feedback of travelers around the world. This type of companies proliferates not only in the tourism sector, but also in any online sales environment. The reason for that is that the review of the customer is key to sell more, and may be taken advantage of throughout the business cycle to increase sales, create positive experiences and improve the reputation of a business.
Reservations and digital natives
The objective of the research was to analyse the extent of the influence of reviews on the booking behaviour of digital natives. To do so, it is necessary to identify the actual review attributes that lead this generation of new travellers to complete a booking.
The results show that the vast majority trust the qualifications issued by customers. Based on this conviction, agencies and other travel companies should consider ratings as an important decision-making factor, which provides their customers with reliable information.
Professor Ina zur Oven-Krockhaus, head of the Tourism Department of the IUBH, asserts that “online assessment platforms give customers the opportunity to express their impressions on a trip in a simple and anonymous way to a very broad audience”. The author sees himself as a mini influencer with a role as a travel expert, and he knows that his reviews are perceived as authentic, objective and decisive for the prospective buyer.
Online reviews and online purchase
In short, online reviews play a crucial part in the booking process, as it can be seen from the conclusions of the study:
- Transcendence: for 83% of the target group, online assessments play a decisive or very decisive part when it comes to booking a trip online.
- Authorship: 34% of travellers always rate their own trips. 40% do it as satisfactory and 42% as unsatisfactory.
- Credibility: the characteristics that young travellers take into account to evaluate a review are the authentic writing style (73%), the level of detail of the information (69%) and its age, not beyond 3 months (66%).
- Review sources: for hotel bookings, customers rely especially on the ratings of Booking.com (68%), followed by Google (61%), TripAdvisor and Expedia (30% each).
- Results display: 68% of survey respondents opted for numerical scales for their clarity. 51% prefer a graphic and textual combination (for example, stars). 29% prefer widgets, that is, additional windows that open in the browser by clicking on a symbol embedded in the Website.
Conclusion: customers want clarity and authenticity when obtaining information
Those responsible for the study point out that the internet is a context characterised by an overexposure of contents in the reduced space of a screen, which may lead to misinformation. According to the results, in times of information overload, customers want less complexity and choose simple and clear designs, which allow easy comparison.
This could be achieved by displaying summaries that include the highlights of an accommodation, for example, based on reviews, results and widgets. Combined with the visual content of the travel company, they would attract potential customers and help make the best booking decision.