Online Traveler Review Volume Continues to Grow

Author: PhoCusWright Inc.

Published: August 04, 2011

Medium

A new report from PhoCusWright reveals that online hotel review volume expanded significantly in 2010, as traveler opinion plays an increasingly powerful role in the online travel search-shop-buy process. PhoCusWright's Social Media in Travel 2011: Traffic, Activity and Sentiment analyzes nearly 2.9 million online traveler reviews, covering more than 26,000 U.S. properties of 65 top hotel brands. The result is an in-depth, year-over-year comparison of traveler reviews and sentiment for the U.S. hotel review landscape, as well as the online forums – traveler review sites and online travel agencies – where travelers post their reviews.

Created in partnership with Circos Brand Karma, Compete and Travelport, PhoCusWright's Social Media in Travel 2011: Traffic, Activity and Sentiment has developed a unique "buzz" metric to capture the number of online reviews or mentions for a particular hotel brand and segment. The report finds that the average monthly buzz across most hotel classes increased in 2010, in part reflecting an overall improvement in hotel market conditions. However, buzz ratings vary significantly from one hotel star classification to the next.

"The rise in overall buzz is indicative of both improving hotel demand and travelers' growing desire to express their opinions," says Douglas Quinby, senior director, research at PhoCusWright. "However, not all segments of the hotel industry, or all segments of the online travel landscape, experienced a similar rise in review volume. Where travelers are posting reviews, and for which types of hotels, has shifted significantly from 2008 through 2010."

PhoCusWright's Social Media in Travel 2011: Traffic, Activity and Sentiment examines the role and impact of social media and content on the online travel ecosystem. The report focuses on how social media influences the major online travel categories, and highlights the implications for travel companies. Key topics include:

  • Influence of social media and online social features in online travel planning and shopping
  • Analysis of the "social travel category," organized around traveler review sites, hotel review pages of OTAs, and travel blogs
  • Traffic, referral and conversion analysis of more than 50 "social travel category" websites in relation to the OTA and hotel supplier website categories, from 2008-2010
  • Cross-visitation, referral and conversion analysis from general social networks (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) to hotel supplier websites and OTAs
  • The evolution of social travel guides, and the role of the social graph in trip planning and travel product selection
  • Detailed analysis of nearly 2.9 million traveler reviews posted on social travel websites from 2008-2010, representing more than 26,000 U.S. properties of 65 leading hotel brands
  • PhoCusWright's "Buzz" social travel benchmark, which provides a gauge of social travel performance in terms of review volume and activity
  • Social Travel Advocacy Index (STAI) benchmark, which tracks traveler sentiment to gauge satisfaction with a particular hotel stay or brand

PhoCusWright's Social Media in Travel 2011: Traffic, Activity and Sentiment (US$1,095), a Global Edition publication, delivers up-to-date information and insight on the role of social media in online travel, so that travel companies can leverage the power and potential of the social Web.