TripAdvisor is Not the Only Place for Reviews: U.S. and European Destination Selectors Weigh In

Author: Cathy Schetzina

Published: January 05, 2012


Travelers in the U.S. and Europe are increasingly turning to traveler review websites when choosing a leisure travel destination, according to the recent PhoCusWright report, Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2011. But while the influence of travel review websites is growing, travelers in some markets still prefer to get their reviews from online travel agencies (OTAs).

PhoCusWright studied travelers who selected at least one leisure travel destination independently in the past twelve months (i.e., destination selectors). In 2011, a larger share of destination selectors in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K. visited a travel review website when choosing their last leisure destination compared to the previous year. For example, 21% of both French and German travelers visited a traveler review website in 2011, versus 13% and 14%, respectively, in 2010.

In the European markets, travelers were also increasingly likely to rate travel review websites as slightly or very influential. But despite the gains, not everyone is flocking to a travel review specialist to get their fix. While travelers in France and the U.K. are more likely to be influenced by traveler review websites (the latter by a large margin), reviews on OTA websites continue to dominate in the U.S. and Germany.

PhoCusWright's Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2011 provides insight into leisure travel behavior in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K., providing in-depth analysis of the traveler segment most relevant to destination marketers: independent destination selectors (i.e., travelers who have independently selected at least one of their leisure travel destinations in the past year). The report analyzes the destination selection process, highlighting the key motivators, information sources, online features and websites used in destination selection.

Report topics include:

  • Leisure traveler trends in each market, with a focus on traveler preferences impacting destination selection
  • Destination selection patterns for domestic and international travelers (distinguishing between European travelers who travel within versus outside of Europe)
  • Analysis of travelers who independently selected a leisure travel destination in the past year, including travel spend and frequency
  • Timing of when travelers choose their destination and the specialized process that sets destination selection apart from other travel decisions
  • Motivators for selecting a travel destination and specific sources of influence
  • Information sources and websites used when choosing a destination
  • Discussion of the most influential types of social media and online features in each market

PhoCusWright's Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2011 – a Global and European Edition publication – is available for just US$795.