Influence of Web 2.0 on Traveler Behavior

When planning a trip of vacation Internet is your friend. I use it to locate nice hotels, book rooms, etc. I also use google earth to see the surroundings of a hotel and google maps for the directions. Sometimes I read the comments or reviews about a certain hotel when presented with it on the website although I’m not always convinced about the objectivity of these reviews.

From a recent publication I learned that one-third of travel purchasers visited a message board, forum, or online community before their online travel purchasing because they believed online reviews would be helpful to their purchase decision. So they take it a step further before booking. Moreover, more than 74 percent of travelers use the comments of other consumers as information sources when planning trips for pleasure. I still use guides such as Michelin Guide or books to read about hotels, regions and their possibilities. Somewhat old fashioned but I trust these books more in their reviews than the hotel’s website.

In a recent research they studied the influence of the valence and variance of online consumer-generated reviews based on the number of online bookings for the hotels included in the study. The data were retrived from a chinese travel website Ctrip.com. They found a significant positive relationship between the number of reviews and the number of hotel bookings.

So online reviews for hotels are of eminent importance. These reviews should be done by real tourists, any kind of fake comments or other obscurities will harm the reputation. What do you think?

Ye, Q., et al. The influence of user-generated content on traveler behavior: An empirical investigation on the effects of eword-
of-mouth to hotel online bookings. Computers in Human Behavior (2010), doi:10.1016/j.chb.2010.04.014