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£2 billion in UK visitor spending generated by online reviews

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The Global Economic Contribution of TripAdvisor report, conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of TripAdvisor, reveals that TripAdvisor’s breadth of content, trusted consumer reviews, and booking facilities not only influenced 10% of all travel spending globally in 2014 but also generated 22 million tourism trips in a single year.

LONDON, UK – TripAdvisor reviews generated £2 billion in visitor spending in the UK in 2014 alone and sustained 55,000 UK jobs, a global statistical analysis of international and domestic travel has found.

The Global Economic Contribution of TripAdvisor report, conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of TripAdvisor, reveals that TripAdvisor’s breadth of content, trusted consumer reviews, and booking facilities not only influenced 10% of all travel spending globally in 2014 but also generated 22 million tourism trips in a single year. This included 400,000 trips in the UK alone, none of which would have occurred if it were not for TripAdvisor content.

While the Oxford Economics study found that travellers who used TripAdvisor when planning their trip spent less on average per day than other travellers, this reduction was more than offset by the increased number and length of the trips those travellers were then able to make. This means any savings made per day help the average traveller to extend their trips and ultimately spend more in destination.

“What is interesting is that TripAdvisor is having two notable effects on travel spending. On the one hand visitors are saving money per day by using the site to find better value options, while on the other hand the confidence they gain through reading reviews leads to an increase in both the number of trips they make and how long those trips last for,” commented James Kay, TripAdvisor spokesperson.

Key findings from the study:
  • Nearly 10% of total global travel spend in 2014 was influenced by TripAdvisor
  • In the UK alone, 2014 travel spending influenced by TripAdvisor was more than double the value of iron & steel exports during the same year
  • TripAdvisor is not only influencing travellers’ booking decisions, it is also directly generating travel spending that would otherwise not have occurred – in 2014, the site generated3 £39 billion in travel spending globally, including £2 billion in the UK
  • Over 1.9 million travel industry jobs – including 55,000 in the UK - were sustained as a result of travel spending generated by TripAdvisor in 2014
  • TripAdvisor content not only increases the number of trips taken globally, but also leads to travellers taking longer trips and extending their stays in destinations
  • This is partly offset by a reduction in the average daily travel spend of those who used TripAdvisor to plan their trips, which suggests that travellers are using the content and functionality on the site to find better value options. Overall though, the net impact is positive, with TripAdvisor travellers ultimately spending more on travel annually than they otherwise would have.
  • Independent properties in the UK have received a disproportionate benefit from the additional visitor spending generated by TripAdvisor. This is because TripAdvisor content gives travellers the confidence to choose a property based on reviews, ratings and photos from other travellers, rather than more traditional decision-making factors such as brand recognition or previous experience. This trend particularly benefits non-branded businesses, enabling small and independent businesses to compete on more of an equal footing with larger, more internationally recognizable brands.
  • There is a virtuous cycle by which increased travel leads to increased content shared on TripAdvisor. That content then helps other travellers planning trips and also provides businesses with valuable feedback to improve service and in turn attract more customers. The study linked this effect to improved standards within the hospitality industry.
Key stats from the study

IMPACT*

GLOBAL

UK

Number of trips influenced by TripAdvisor

352m

8.7m

Number of tourism nights influenced by TripAdvisor

1.8 billion

90.7m

Number of extra trips generated by TripAdvisor

22.4m

0.4m

Number of extra tourism nights generated by TripAdvisor

352m

22.4m

Travel spend influenced by TripAdvisor

£290 billion

£14.3 billion

Travel spend generated by TripAdvisor

£39 billion

£2 billion

Number of travel industry jobs sustained by travel spending generated on TripAdvisor

1.9m

55,000

*Statistics relate to 2014 data analysed by Oxford Economics

“The findings of this report provide further evidence of the strong link between tourism and the digital economy. The BHA is at the forefront of industry efforts to maximise the benefits that sites like TripAdvisor can bring to both customers and hospitality businesses,” commented Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association.

“TripAdvisor reviews from hundreds and hundreds of guests have helped to make our business what it is today. As a small business, the positive reviews we’ve received from customers cost us nothing but have done more for our business than paid advertising ever could. What is more, the feedback we receive keeps businesses like ours focused on what matters most – providing great service and a great experience for our guests,” reflected Sue Burrell, co-owner of Millgate B&B, 2015 Travellers’ Choice award winner.

“Extensive modelling spanning more than 100 countries has shown the effects of TripAdvisor content to be significant both in terms of influence and in generating new travel activity,” said Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics (Oxford Economics). “As well as generating trips that wouldn’t otherwise have taken place, increased interaction with TripAdvisor listings and reviews encourages travellers to take longer trips.”

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