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Would you book a holiday without consulting TripAdvisor?

Almost half of travellers admit they never research their destination or accommodation, a new study shows.

Many Britons book holidays with no knowledge of where they’re heading or what kind of accommodation they’ll face on arrival, according to online travel agency sunshine.co.uk.

When asked whether they had researched their destination, 13 per cent of holidaymakers said "no" because they were revisiting somewhere they had been before.

Four out of 10 claimed they had done at least some research into the destination before committing to book.

However, 48 per cent said they had booked without doing any research whatsoever.

Blind bookers anxious about their holiday

Nearly seven out of 10 of blind bookers found themselves to be "anxious" about what they’d found and had some concerns about how their holiday would turn out.

When asked why they had blind booked in the first place, 62 per cent said they didn’t want to overcomplicate their decision by finding out too much.

Nearly a fifth – 19 per cent - admitted to being disappointed by their holiday and felt their lack of research beforehand had compromised their enjoyment.

Chris Clarkson, managing director of sunshine.co.uk, says: "If you’re returning to a hotel or destination that you know and love, chances are, you won’t have a problem.

"However, if you book somewhere new without checking a few things first, such as if the resort is family friendly or if there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained, you might be disappointed on arrival."

Holiday research is beneficial

While some holidaymakers are willing to take a chance, there are clear benefits to checking out a holiday destination before you go.

The prospect of an online review on a site such as TripAdvisor may even cause a hotelier to up their game.

Debbie Thomas, 53, from Cardiff, signed up to TripAdvisor in 2008 and has since written 124 reviews and has more than 8,600 readers.

In the past couple of years she has travelled to the likes of Cambodia, China, India, and Iceland.

She says: "I thoroughly enjoy planning my trips and when researching a holiday, adventure trip or short break I always have TripAdvisor open in another window to check hotel reviews as I go along."

‘I emailed the hotel to say I’d be reviewing on TripAdvisor’

Debbie says she has found some of the reviews on TripAdvisor posted by other travellers invaluable and would never book a trip now without first consulting the website.

"I only did it once in recent times when booking a discounted hotel in a rush, only to look afterwards and find the reviews really bad," she says.

"So I emailed the hotel ahead of our stay to tell them I'd be coming and would definitely be reviewing on TripAdvisor and I hoped my stay would be better than the reviews I’d read. 

"We had a good stay which I reflected in my subsequent review."

Top seven tips for researching a holiday online

When researching a holiday online, TripAdvisor has the following tips for travellers using its service:

  • Use the photos to get a good picture of what a hotel/restaurant is like - you can see how clean the bathroom really is and just how small the bedrooms are.
  • Search for reviews by date to see how the hotel generally copes at the time of year you are going.
  • Make sure you read multiple reviews – use your common sense and don’t base your decision on just one or two reviews. Invest time reading lots of reviews from people with different experiences to build a rounded picture.
  • Look at the profile of the person that’s written the review and decide if they are likely to have similar standards to you or a similar taste in holiday. For example, a five-star review by a young party-goer may not mean the same for an older couple looking for a quieter hotel. You can filter the reviews by traveller type, such as family, business or couple.
  • Look at where a traveller is from then analyse whether their expectations match yours: American reviewers are typically more critical of room sizes in European hotels than Brits who are used to smaller rooms.
  • See whether the hotel’s management has replied to any of the reviews – this can be a good indication of how seriously the management takes customer service. Everyone has a bad day occasionally, but if the manager has apologised and explained the reason in a friendly and polite way, then most prospective guests will view this as a positive.
  • Use the forums – search the forums and post a question. Questions in the forums are answered on average within 24 hours.

What do you think?

Would you book a holiday without consulting TripAdvisor?

Have you had a disastrous “blind booking” experience?

We want to hear from you! You can share your views on the message board below.

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Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley is a writer at Confused.com, focusing on credit cards and other financial products. Wannabe mountaineer Adam joined us from the world of financial services PR.

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