£2.3million immigration hall upgrade plans at Bristol Airport

£2.3million immigration hall upgrade plans at Bristol Airport

Monday, 24 October 2016 14:00

Following ...

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen Z with new Geckos age-range

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen …

Monday, 24 October 2016 11:00

30 year olds will be ‘too old’ for Geckos Adventures next year, as the Intrepid Group has announced that it will cut the age range to meet a growing demand...

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits manage to wangle an upgrade

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits …

Monday, 24 October 2016 08:40

New research from Jetcost.co.uk has revealed that only 8% of British travellers have actually managed to secure a free upgrade for their holiday, with flight upgrades and hotel room upgrades...

Just You launches travel trade solo experience

Just You launches travel trade solo expe…

Friday, 21 October 2016 14:00

Just You has announced its largest investment to support the travel trade with the launch of 200 joint marketing events to promote solo travel.

Spontaneous people are happier according to Snaptrip survey

Spontaneous people are happier according…

Friday, 21 October 2016 11:00

Spontaneous people are often believed to lead more exciting or glamorous lifestyles and a new study has confirmed that they are happier in all aspects of their lives.

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver tickets for half term

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver …

Friday, 21 October 2016 09:00

Visitors to Brighton this October half term can save up to 20% on its top three paid-for attractions with combination tickets now available for British Airways i360, SEA LIFE Brighton...

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Thursday, 20 October 2016 14:00

There still’s time for agents to book a Croisieurope river cruise for their customers with a free cabin upgrade on a range of river cruises throughout Europe, when booked with...

Last minute autumn breaks available at Haven

Last minute autumn breaks available at H…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:00

Agents can still give their customers a last minute family break this autumn from £99 when booking a Haven holiday between now and November 5.

Skiers urged to head east for best piste costs reveals new report

Skiers urged to head east for best piste…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 08:00

Cash-conscious skiers can avoid the slippery slope of higher prices for their annual downhill trip by heading to ski resorts in Eastern Europe.

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS competition

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS co…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:00

Ferry operator, DFDS, is putting out a call to professional and amateur artists to create a poster that will be used in their 150th anniversary celebrations this year.

Savings on worldwide adventures with Explore

Savings on worldwide adventures with Exp…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 11:00

Explore has launched a new collection of worldwide adventures with a launch offer of up to 10% discount on all new trips booked by November 7.

New route to Seattle makes it one to watch for 2017

New route to Seattle makes it one to wat…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 09:12

Seattle is expected to be one of the fastest growing US destinations for UK travellers next year with a Virgin Atlantic direct non-stop daily flight launching March 2017, new hotel...

Air Transat launches 2017 programme with increased connections across Canada

Air Transat launches 2017 programme with…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:04

Air Transat has expanded its programme of flights from the UK to Canada with increased capacity and connections for travel in 2017.

Oceania Cruises reduces single supplement fares

Oceania Cruises reduces single supplemen…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:02

Oceania Cruises has launched a reduced single supplement promotion for solo travellers, with guests offered single supplements fares from 25% on seven itineraries, booked before December 31.

Mall of America welcomes arrival of MythBusters

Mall of America welcomes arrival of Myth…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:00

Running throughout autumn until January 15, 2017, visitors can ignite their curiosity and discover whether they can really huff and puff to blow a house down; if running in the...

Emirates to launch new daily service to Fort Lauderdale

Emirates to launch new daily service to …

Monday, 17 October 2016 11:00

Emirates has announced that it will launch a daily service between Dubai and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, on December 15, serving the South Florida area, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami and...

Review sites such as TripAdvisor and Feefo have long since secured their roles in the shopping baskets of travel consumers. Consulting reviews and other user generated content (UGC) is now a key part of the purchase journey for many travellers. TripAdvisor alone reaches 350 million people per month, with 200 new contributions added every minute. Online reviews harness user generated content as a powerful marketing tool, but some brands are still anxious about putting the consumer and their opinions in the driving seat.

It might seem scary stepping away from the helm, but here’s why travel brands should loosen their brand control.


Unsurprisingly consumers are more likely to trust content from their peers than from brands. According to the 2015 Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, 81% of people feel that personal recommendations are the most trusted form of advertising. Second only to this is the opinion of other consumers online (58%).

According to the survey, peer recommendations and reviews are more important to consumers than brand-created content, including emails, TV ads and websites. UGC presents a huge opportunity to help tell your brand’s story. Rather than view it with trepidation, consider it as a creative collaboration with those who live and breathe your product.

When it comes to making a decision over accommodation, price is the most important factor, but it’s closely followed by online ratings and reviews according to TripAdvisor’s 2016 TripBarometer Travel Trend report. Consumers aren’t just after a low price, but great value too. The report concluded that Millennials are more likely to pay attention to reviews than Generation X and Baby Boomers, suggesting that the value of UGC will continue to grow.

Reviews are consulted at a crucial part of the purchase journey. By the time a user is searching for reviews they are intending to buy. They have already made the important decision to visit a location, but reviews can help make sure you are in their list of considered destinations while also boosting your organic search visibility online and website traffic.

The beauty of UGC is the honesty, so you have to prepare yourself for a few interesting ones, but, if you’re confident, there’s nothing to worry about. Most consumers are savvy enough to work out when a negative reviewer isn’t trustworthy and will discount their opinion – but what they will assess is how you respond.

Nothing says ‘poor customer service’ like an overly defensive reply. Recognise the issue, demonstrate how the problem is solved, and sign off with a wish to see them again. Too often a customer fails to raise issues at the time, leaving owners defending problems they could have easily fixed, but knew nothing about. Discuss how you would have dealt with the issue, bracketed with a few pleasantries. To go the extra mile, suggest that the consumer makes a return visit so that you can demonstrate it won’t happen again.

Sometimes negative reviews can be helpful. Your reviewer may point out that your establishment is ‘not child friendly’ or that there are ‘lots of steps to climb’. While this traveller may not have had a great time, their comments will save anyone else from the same experience, which in turn saves you from any further complaints. Being honest about feedback, if issues are resolved, gives you additional points for integrity.

Once people start talking, share what they have to say with your social following. Through social media you can also reach out to regular contributors and build up a team of advocates, creating more opportunities. Through this, you retain some control, while advocates spread your message.

Reviews aren’t the only way to embrace UGC. Images are more powerful than words, especially from customers. The issue of trust extends to photography too. If your UGC matches your marketing assets then consumers are more likely to believe your service. After all, your customers are more than likely already sharing pictures of your product – you just need to tap into the conversation.

Still not convinced by the potential financial gains, the SEO benefits and the free content creation? Don’t take my word for it. According to TripAdvisor, more than 90% of all travel businesses feel online reviews are important to the future of their business and online reputation management remains the top area for investment in 2016, and a key priority for the future of their business. So what are you waiting for?

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