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Holiday Travelers Trust Online Travel Reviews

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Growing numbers of Americans say they trust other travelers' online reviews of travel experiences and are factoring those reviews into their travel plans in 2012, according to a new Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance.

Among the nearly six in ten (56%) Americans who say they're confident they'll take a holiday trip this year, three in four (76%) say they believe other travelers' online reviews are either "trustworthy" (13%) or "somewhat trustworthy" (63%). That's up 9 percentage points from the 69% who said so in 2011.

Only 18% of Americans who are confident they'll take a holiday trip this year find other travelers' reviews "not trustworthy" (7% not at all and 11% not very), down from the 24% who said so a year earlier.

Below, additional findings from Ipsos Public Affairs.


Age and Income Differences

As Americans get older, they become less trustworthy of other travelers' reviews:

  • 77% of young Americans (age 18-34) find other travelers' reviews trustworthy, up from 70% in 2011.
  • 70% of middle-aged Americans (age 35-54) find other travelers' reviews trustworthy, up from 67% a year earlier.
  • 61% of American seniors (age 55+) find other travelers' reviews trustworthy, up from 54% in 2011.

Americans with higher household incomes are most likely to find other travelers’ reviews trustworthy: 77% with annual incomes of $75,000+ say they do.

By contrast, 64% of lower-income Americans (under $25,000 annually) find other travelers' reviews trustworthy. However, that proportion was up 14 points in 2012, from 50% in 2011.

Impact of Reviews on Travel Planning

More Americans are taking others' reviews into account as they plan their holiday vacations.

Fully one-half (50%) of those who are confident they'll take a holiday trip this year factor other travelers' reviews into their plans all the time (5%) or some of the time (45%), up 9 points from the 41% who answered similarly in 2011.

Just as younger Americans are more likely to find other travelers' reviews trustworthy, they're also most likely to factor other travelers' reviews into their own booking plans:

  • 47% of young Americans factor other reviews into their own plans, up from 42% a year earlier.
  • 44% of middle-aged Americans factor reviews into their travel plans, up from 38% in 2011.
  • 27% of older Americans factor other travelers' reviews into their plans, up from 22% a year earlier.

Top Channels for Sharing Travel Experiences

Many holiday travelers also share their own reviews and experiences online.

Among those who are confident they'll take a holiday trip this year, one-third (33%) say they share their own reviews and experiences online, up two points from 31% in 2011 (31%).

The most popular forum for sharing one's own travel reviews is social networking sites (23%), followed by travel review sites (12%), consumer review sites (9%), and one's own blog or website (4%):

Younger Americans are more likely to share their own travel experiences online.

Among those who are confident they'll take a holiday trip this, 42% of young Americans say they share reviews of their own travel experiences online, compared with 29% of middle-aged Americans and 16% of and seniors who say the same.

Social media networking sites are most popular among younger (35%), and middle-aged (18%) Americans, whereas seniors are equally as likely to use travel review sites (6%), social networking sites (5%), and consumer review sites (4%).

About the data: Findings are based on a poll of 1,000 randomly-selected adults age 18+ living in the US, interviewed by telephone via Ipsos's US Telephone Express omnibus, November 8-13, 2012.


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Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.

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