Tourists place their trust in online strangers, reveals Skyscanner

34% of travellers say they have made the decision to visit a destination suggested by someone they only ‘know’ online.

While friends’ recommendations have always played an important part in travel planning, a new survey by leading travel search site Skyscanner reveals that recommendations from ‘virtual strangers’ are growing increasingly influential.

The survey of 800 travellers revealed that web travel forums play a vital role in travel recommendations with 8 out of 10 people stating that views of people on these forums are important – with 25% claiming they are “very important” or “definitely important”.

The anonymous nature of many online forums doesn’t appear to be a barrier to trust either; 34% said they had made the decision to visit a destination suggested by someone they only ‘know’ online. “We are increasingly adventurous as a nation, but part of us always wants reassurance that we have made the right choices,” said Sam Baldwin, Skyscanner Travel Editor.

“A lot of time, money and emotion is invested in a holiday and naturally we want to minimise the risk of making the wrong decision – a recent Skyscanner survey about travellers’ concerns showed that 13% were most worried about not having made the best decision when making travel arrangements online. Social media helps people to extend their research and have more confidence in the decisions they make.”

Images still appear to be one of the most powerful selling tools of a destination with an amazing 21% of respondents claiming to have made the decision to visit a location based on a picture seen on photo-sharing site Flickr.com. This follows a Skyscanner poll earlier this year which revealed that over half of the respondents had booked a trip to a destination after seeing their friends’ pictures posted on Facebook.

Most companies are now well aware of the importance of incorporating social media channels into their traditional marketing methods, and the survey indicates that this appears to be paying off with over half (56%) of respondents following tourist boards or travel companies on Twitter, or ‘liking’ them on Facebook.

The survey also revealed that social media is not just being used in the planning phase of the holiday. With an increasing use of smart phones, many travellers (41%) are now using apps to help them to choose restaurants, bars and beaches during their trip.

Baldwin continued, “Travellers like to feel they have the inside track on the best places to go or the latest openings and social media lends itself well to this. Following tourist boards or using apps when on holiday allows tourists to tap into what they see as local knowledge. This is a great for the travel industry – anything that encourages travellers to get the most enjoyment out of their holiday can only be positive.”

About Skyscanner Skyscanner is a travel search site providing online comparisons on flight prices for millions of flights on over 600 airlines, as well car hire, hotels and deals.
For more info you can follow Skyscanner on Twitter and Facebook or contact the PR: Cass Helstrip/ Mary Porter, cass@skyscanner.net /mary@skyscanner.net, +44(0)7968-255-464 / +44(0)131-252-5353.

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About Alex Kornfeind

Over 15 years of online strategy, web communication specialist and expert in eBusiness management. Speaker at numerous conferences in Italy and abroad has pioneered the evolutionary IT industry working closely with suppliers in the implementation processes of new IT business models in Italy. Editor and freelance journalist since 1985, IT consultant for companies and organizations. 1998 Former Pacific Asia Travel Association Italy Chapter President and Europe Steering Committee's Member. 1999,2000/01, invited as Visionary Leader at the EyeForTravel Conferences (US&EU) as panelist speaker. 2003, Awarded with the "Piazza Mercanti" by the President of Confcommercio Mr. Carlo Sangalli. 2005, SMAU Advisory Board's member. 2010, Winner of the "Multichannel Communication Strategies" contest organized by the Politecnico Milan with the client Dutch Tourist Office Italy. Lecturer at MIB School of Management of Trieste for the International Master in Tourism & Leisure. IFITT’s Italy Chapter member. Master eBusiness Management by the Politecnico Milan.

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