About a third of American travelers who research trips via the web read reviews written by fellow travelers, according to Forrester Research. Other internet booking findings:
· Of those who book hotels online, a third have changed plans based on other travelers´ comments.
· Another new survey by online market researchers Compete, Inc. shows that 56% of respondents consider "consumer-generated content" to be credible, vs. 36% who trust descriptions created by a hotel or other travel supplier.
· Studies show that for certain travel products, consumers find the Internet ideal for conducting research but not for booking reservations. Generally speaking, the more complex the travel product, the more likely it will be researched online but booked offline.
In response, a slew of travel sites are introducing or expanding consumer reviews and exchanges, from online agencies such as Priceline.com (which recently added Zagat hotel ratings to its own customer reviews) to the Florida tourism office´s VisitFlorida.com, which plans to launch tourist-generated blogs and videos this fall, says eMarketer.
Even Andrew Harper, whose opinionated Hideaway Report newsletter caters to wealthy, discerning travelers, is considering posting subscriber reviews on his website later this year.