Last week TripAdvisor announced that the site reached 150 million user reviews. According to the company this represents a 50 percent year-on-year increase, a clear sign for its growing popularity among users; and its significant role for the industry (Tnooz).
TripAdvisor currently has more than 60 million members worldwide, a mix of frequent contributors and silent consumers. A TripAdvisor-commissioned study found that more than half of respondents worldwide want to look at reviews before booking a hotel. And that 80 percent of respondents read 6 to 12 reviews before making a decision.
THE ROLE OF DMOs
Reviews are getting undeniably more important. This however raises a question regarding the role of DMOs. The traditional core business of destination management organisations lies in servicing customers by providing their visitors travel advice. Through the emergence of online review services, the authority of DMOs is under threat as travellers increasingly put more trust in online peer reviews.
Some tourist boards have recognised this trend, and responded by fully outsourcing the recommendation of attractions and accommodation to external review sites. For instance VisitBrazil features in its accommodation and events section of regions and cities direct links to TripAdvisor. While the value of crowed sourced information and recommendations is undeniable, such a radical approach neglects the core competency of DMOs: local insights provided by local experts.
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