NEWS2 August 2017

Lack of trust in social media recommendations

Leisure & Arts News Travel Trends UK Youth

UK – Trust in recommendations made on social media lags significantly behind those from family and friends, TripAdvisor and traditional media in influencing holiday and leisure choices, according to new research. 

The study, from customer experience agency Network Research, looked into the influences of endorsements in the travel and tourism industry. 

Network Research surveyed 600 UK residents to explore which channels they trust when planning holidays and visits to leisure attractions. It found that four out of five holiday goers trust recommendations from friends and family, and two thirds of respondents trust review sites such as TripAdvisor

While PR activities by travel companies still appear to have some positive influence - around two in five holiday goers claim to trust newspaper articles – overall, respondents were less likely to trust recommendations made on social media compared with almost all channels surveyed. 

Of all social media sites, Facebook is seen as the most trustworthy, with a third of respondents claiming to trust recommendations from that platform, compared with around 20% each for Twitter and Instagram. 

Just 23% of people said they would consult Facebook for holiday recommendations, followed by 11% on Twitter and just 9% for Instagram. However, social media recommendations are more common for those in the 18-24 age bracket: 40% said they would consult Facebook, 23% Twitter, and 28% Instagram. 

"This research points to massive opportunities for leisure and tourism brands, big and small, to engage with customers more, and get them talking about their experiences," the report read.

"It’s clear that recommendations and reviews from personal contacts trump many other influences, so those companies that deliver great experiences and encourage customers talk about them, in whatever forum, will be more likely to succeed.  

"The role of social media is definitely growing but it hasn’t taken over, even amongst the young"