How Trustworthy is Online Travel Info?

Online Travel Sites

Presently, there are many platforms to look for information on holiday destinations. With so much information available, judging what is accurate and trustworthy becomes an issue. The following are guidelines on how to judge if the information is valid:

Factors to consider when reading about destinations:

Sponsored content

Sponsored content is mostly for marketing and advertising purposes; therefore, the author may not necessarily present the correct information but may be just motivated by monetary gain.

Replicable experiences

Only writings of experiences that the reader can replicate should inform the reader’s choice.  Narrations of experiences that the reader can’t have, becomes irrelevant to him/ her.

Detailed content

If the writer can provide detailed information which provides enough insight as would a magazine or guidebook then the content can be trusted.

Bigger picture

Having a wide view with due consideration on whether the reader can identify with the content reveals trustworthiness, e.g., similar travel styles of reader and writer.

Website appearance 

Where the website is modern, professional, frequently updated and looks lively then the information can be expected to be trustworthy.

Are they too negative? 

Where a writer provides very negative and dismissive comments then that cannot be taken to accurately represent the reality. In most cases the writer may be driven by emotion. A different person may have a different experience all together.

Timely content

Article contents at least two years old can be trusted. This is because travel changes fast and therefore anything written five years ago cannot represent the true picture.

Factors to consider when researching a company or making a booking:

Most reviews are negative

Because customers mostly use review sites to complain too many negative reviews should not worry you too much.

Consider why a review is negative

Consider the reason for a negative review ignoring those that are just rants and not helpful.

Expert opinion

Compare what professional travel writers, magazines, and newspapers report with negative consumer reviews about the company but give due weight to the professional expert opinion.

Next, consider the following:

How often a reviewer posts

Someone who just posts once and rants through the review was probably just hell-bent on attacking the company for some reason and their review cannot be trustworthy.

Beware too-positive reviews

Sometime positive reviews may not be the genuine thoughts of the writers. The reviews may be biased by the writer’s unwillingness to portray the company and/or its staff in bad light probably because of some relationship.

Beware a lack of details

Pay attention to reviews that are detailed and specific and ignore general statements such as: “I had a great time.”

Beware paid placements

Sometimes companies pay to have higher ratings which may not necessarily be commensurate with the services and facilities there.

Pictures

Though the quality of the photo may vary with who takes the photo, it may give a sense of what the hotel environment is like.

Conclusion

Eventually having considered all the above factors make an informed decision if the site is one you can trust and transact with.