14 June, 2007: Trust in travel agents is waning as more people go online to research and book their holidays, a new survey claims.
Ninety per cent of consumers questioned for online travel site boo.com said their pre-holiday research online was accurate and only 13% of people surveyed trusted travel agents and brochures above online reviews.
The poll found that with more three quarters of consumers opting to research and book holidays cheaper direct on the internet, trust in travel agents has ebbed.
The Travel Trust Index Report reveals that peer reviews are growing in power, with one in six posting a review following a holiday and 71% letting their fellow travellers be their guide.
Psychologist Donna Dawson, commenting on the research, said: "We no longer need to meet face-to-face in order for trust to develop; we can follow the reports of one or more fellow-travellers over time to see if their priorities are the same as ours.
"And the conclusion we then reach is that we would rather put our trust in someone who appears similar to ourselves, than a travel agent who may have a hidden agenda."
Almost half of those asked admitted to saving for 50 weeks of the year for two weeks in the sun, with a further one fifth saving for at least six months. Yet researching a holiday destination can be a time consuming and sometimes stressful process.
The poll covered 2,00 consumers in the Uk and Ireland, 2,000 in the US and 500 in Canada. Family and friend emerged as the most trusted for travel advice, followed by online travel sites and reviews, brochures, magazines/newspapers and travel agents in fifth place.
Boo.com CEO Ray Nolan said: "Peer reviews have rapidly changed the travel booking process. We know how important collective wisdom is in helping people make the right travel decisions, but how do you know if you can trust a reviewer?
"We have also introduced a boo trust rating index which enables reviewers to earn the trust of the rest of the community based on the number of reviews they have submitted and how useful these were considered. This takes some of the risk and anonymity out of the whole decision making process."