Online reviews play major part in travel decisions

Word of mouth and social media will play a heavy part in holidaymakers' decisions about where to escape for a break this summer, according to a new report.

A quarter of holidaymakers take advice about where to book their getaways from social media, word of mouth and independent sites such as TripAdvisor, which prove more influential than brochures, advertising, media reviews and advice from travel agents.

The Social Travel report, by media agency Total Media reveals 25% of British travellers believe online reviews by strangers help them determine their travel plans compared to 14% for online advertisements, 13% for TV travel programmes, 11% for travel magazines and newspaper supplements, and 9% for TV advertising and direct mail.

However, 28% are more influenced by friends' recommendations and 24% by family advice.

Half of those aged over 45 post advice on websites to recommend or warn fellow travellers, compared to 40% of over 25s and 30% of those aged 16-plus, with 16 to 24-year-olds least likely to exchange views online.

The survey carried out by Lightspeed interviewed 1,375 adults who had travelled in the past 12 months.

It showed price comparison site Expedia was the leading online destination for consumers planning long trips, followed by TripAdvisor and

Ebookers, Lonelyplanet, Travelocity, Teletext, Opodo, Yahoo!, the Foreign Office, BBC, Telegraph and Daily Mail were also popular online travel information sources.

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