New research published today by boo.com shows that a majority of Brits place their trust in complete strangers online when it comes to researching and booking their holidays. The Travel Trust Index reveals that peer reviews are growing in power, with one in six posting a review following a holiday and 71% letting their fellow travellers be their guide.
With over three quarters of consumers opting to research and book holidays cheaper direct on the net, trust in travel agents has ebbed. 90% of consumers said their pre-holiday research online was accurate and only 13% of people surveyed trusted travel agents and brochures above online reviews.
Ray Nolan, CEO of (Dublin-based) travel site boo.com said: “Peer reviews have rapidly changed the travel booking process. We at boo know how important collective wisdom is in helping people make the right travel decisions, but how do you know if you can trust a reviewer? At boo.com we separate out reviews your friends have written from reviews that others have published - “your crew versus the boo crew”. We have also introduced a boo trust rating index which enables reviewers to earn the trust of the rest of the community based on the number of reviews they have submitted and how useful these were considered. This takes some of the risk and anonymity out of the whole decision making process.”
Psychologist Donna Dawson, commenting on the research says: “We no longer need to meet face-to-face in order for trust to develop; we can follow the reports of one or more fellow-travellers over time to see if their priorities are the same as ours. And the conclusion we then reach is that we would rather put our trust in someone who appears similar to ourselves, than a travel agent who may have a hidden agenda.”
When it comes to who people trust when reading online reviews, those from down under top the Trust Index, with nearly one in three saying Australians offer the best travel advice.
Old rivalries still hold true when it comes to the summer sun lounger fight, with Germany not even making the top 10 list of nationalities people would most like to meet on holiday. Again, the Aussies seem to rule the roost taking the number one slot as the most popular travel buddy.
Booking a holiday is something we cherish; almost half of us admit to saving for 50 weeks of the year for two weeks in the sun, with a further one fifth saving for at least six months. Yet researching a holiday destination can be a time consuming and sometimes stressful process. Combining search engine functionality, pricing, reviews and social networking within one site, boo.com takes the pain out of search and selection by putting all the tools and information needed in one place.