Let’s imagine a world where the most stressful thing about travelling isn’t whether or not you can actually leave the state. A magical world where the idea of hotel quarantine and vaccine requirements and negative tests don’t pop into your mind after you think “I would love a holiday.” In this make-believe universe of travelling whenever you feel like it and enjoying the outside world us humans have found another way to stress ourselves out: by reading online reviews.
A survey of a couple of thousand American holiday-makers found that 67% of them were “obsessed” with reading reviews before they book in any travel plans. Reviews of the hotel, reviews of the airline, reviews of the tourist attractions, reviews of the restaurant, reviews of everything. If somebody can leave a lukewarm two-star review of it on TripAdvisor then these vacationers had to read it.
On average Americans read about 17 reviews before locking in their holiday plans. Although, 46% of them also admitted that even though they had read all of these reviews that they had still been let down because of misleading information in the review.
So even though almost half of all respondents found online travel reviews misleading around that same number of people also said they would be “seriously worried” about booking a holiday without reading the reviews first. How would you feel booking a hotel for a week without knowing whether some guy had a bad experience with the room’s bathroom sink back in 2012?
While reading online reviews before booking in any kind of travel might ease our minds it’s also important to remember that sometimes people can be wrong. For example this one star review on Trip Advisor that says of the Sydney Opera House “I would give this one a miss” or this other one star review that says “My dream came true when I visited this place.” My dreams came true: one star. These reviews are only helpful in reminding you that humans are fallible.