How Do Travelers Really Want to Read Reviews?

TrustYou consumer research identifies how sites can present travel review content to increase consumer trust and bookings


Like most travelers, I tend to read reviews prior to booking a hotel. The hotel experience is one that can make or break my trip, and I want to make sure that I am staying in a top-notch place. That said, reading all of this content can often be time consuming. Even worse, after reading a handful of reviews, sometimes I am left feeling even more confused about what to expect from the hotel than before. One reviewer says that the hotel has great WiFi, the next not so much, and so on.

I’ve often felt that there must be – and should be – an easier way to consume all of this content, and it turns out that there indeed is. TrustYou, in conjunction with Donna Quadri-Felitti, Academic Chair and Clinical Associate Professor at NYU, School of Professional Studies Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism recently conducted a study to better understand the role of reviews in the travel planning process. The study examined the preference of consumers when using reviews to make travel purchases, evaluating their time investment, confidence/trust, and mobile experience. Specifically, the study compared user experiences with review summaries versus full text review.

The research shows that summarized review content increases consumer trust while substantially decreasing the amount of time travelers need to read and digest review content. Plus, this presentation is the most mobile-friendly way for travelers to take in reviews. The findings indicate a true shift occurring in the way travelers want their review content delivered.

Here’s what you should know about presenting travel reviews for the highest booking conversions:

Traveler’s Review Habits

  • 95% of respondents report reading travel reviews prior to booking
  • Leisure travelers reported reading an average of 6-7 reviews prior to booking and business travelers reported reading an average of 5
  • Leisure travelers spend an average of 30 minutes reading reviews prior to booking a hotel, and 10% of travelers spend more than one hour reading reviews

How to Present Travel Reviews

  • 52% of respondents said summarized review content is the most user friendly way to read reviews
  • 80% said summarized reviews are time efficient, while only 59% said the same for full text reviews
  • 72% said summarized review content is mobile friendly, and 61% said they would prefer to see only summarized review content when booking on a mobile device

The full report is available for free download here.

The study was conducted using an online survey panel of 510 travelers, all of whom traveled during the last 12 months for leisure, business, or both. Respondents were evaluated two different presentations of reviews and described their user experience with each, rating their confidence level in making a booking decision.


*TrustYou’s Meta-Reviews are based solely on verified travel reviews from more than 250 sources worldwide. They do not include data from TripAdvisor.