Moving Past Dedicated Review Sites
Certainly this is not to say that powerhouse, dedicated review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor will soon be obsolete, or redundant. But as travelers increasingly use ratings and reviews less to research a trip ( or product/service), and more to actually buying, the importance of broad-based, dedicated rating sites may be declining.
Customers are now going directly to those websites that post reviews from multiple sources, especially from their own customers, thus reducing the clout of broader dedicated review sites.
At least that's the conclusion drawn by researchers at Maritz Research .
In the report with the lengthy title, " Ubiquitous Reviews and Low Participation: Two More Threats to Dedicated Review Sites," author David Ensing, VP of customer research, suggested two major trends :
• "Many" customers (in a study of 3,404 online panel respondents) do not think the information on dedicated review sites is "trustworthy."
* Since customers are getting reviews from all sorts of places on the Internet, the need for dedicated review sites is declining.
The point is, many many companies post their own reviews and ratings. Think Walmart, Amazon, hotels, restaurants, Sears, Best Buy, etc.
It seems as customer reviews and ratings "spread over the Internet," the power of specific review sites is diminished.
Still, even though only one in ten people posts reviews, and a surprisingly high 41% said they had not visited a review site in the last year, in the travel space, TripAdvisor is still the leader with 29.9 % of all respondents in the study reading or posting there.
Hotels.com (owned by Expedia) is a very close second with 28.9%, with Yelp a close third at 28.3%.
What's the "take away"?
It's increasingly important for travel marketers and travelers to think beyond the dedicated review sites, and read those reviews closer to the source of what and where they're buying.
And keep in mind that reviews are read by a small sample of users, and generated by an even smaller number.