Online reviews were more important than ever for Brits planning their holidays this summer with a new poll from the Internet Association showing that eight out ten holidaymakers relied on them before booking.
As well as using reviews to plan where to stay, 70 per cent of UK adults use the internet to book their actual holidays while 59 per cent of UK adults would never book somewhere to stay without first checking the online customer reviews.
Furthermore, over half – 52 per cent – of British adults say they would be less likely to book holiday accommodation if there were no online reviews available for it.
The new figures, released today, highlight how vital reviews have become for both holidaymakers and accommodation operators like hotels and villas.
UK holidaymakers’ heavy reliance on the use of the internet to book their holidays, and for using online customer reviews to decide where to stay, underscores the importance of the internet to society according to the Internet Association UK’s Executive Director Daniel Dyball:
“The internet has helped holidaymakers feel more secure about booking the most expensive thing they will probably buy all year. The importance of online reviews is clear for holidaymakers, and highlights how vital they are for the tourism industry too. This new research demonstrates the tangible benefits technology brings to everyday life and to the economy.”
Further findings from the poll were that:
- The age group most likely to never book a holiday without checking its online reviews is, unsurprisingly, 18-24 year olds – with a huge 75 per cent relying on online reviews.
- This age group also would be least likely to book accommodation without reviews with 77 per cent of 18-24s not willing to risk booking somewhere to stay that has no reviews.
- Contrary to the image of pensioners as being reluctant to use new technology, the poll found that half of over 65s would also never book accommodation without checking its online reviews.
The figures are released as internet companies have expressed concerns that new government rules – announced in the government’s recent Online Harms White Paper – could require website operators to assume liability for every user review and comment.
Customers are, at present, able to leave – and enjoy – reviews on sites like Tripadvisor, Google, Yelp or Expedia because the operators do not have to censor or vet them all before they’re posted, or else face the possibility of a libel lawsuit.
Dyball added: “Services like online user reviews can only thrive in a policy environment that recognises their benefits to society, and balances them against potential harms.”