Travel Companies Must Take Online Reputation Management Seriously - eMarketer

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Travel Companies Must Take Online Reputation Management Seriously

Reputation is important for all brands, but online travel booking puts travel firms in a particularly bright spotlight

November 23, 2011

Today’s US travel consumers make use of a growing variety of web resources to help them research and book travel. This list has evolved beyond branded promotional material to include ratings, reviews, videos, photos and social media commentary from travel peers. More than ever before, this positive and negative online information has the ability to make or break purchase decisions.

“While this treasure trove of travel content is a boon for consumers, the loss of control by travel marketers over what is being said has made it important for them to aggressively monitor and manage their brand’s online reputation,” said Victoria Petrock, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report, “How Travel Brands Manage Their Online Reputation: Making the Most of Owned, Earned and Paid Media.” “Helping potential customers view their brand in the best possible light is of utmost importance in this increasingly competitive market.”

eMarketer estimates there will be 117.6 million online travel researchers (61% of internet users) and 98.3 million online travel bookers (51% of internet users) in the US by 2012. These consumers are going online for information at more points in the travel process—before, during and after a trip. The sheer number of online travel researchers and bookers elevates the importance of online reputation.

US Online Travel Researchers and Bookers, 2009-2012 (millions and % of internet users)

A brand’s website is one of its most visible owned assets and can serve as a central hub for content delivered through multiple channels to support reputation management. February 2011 research by Ypartnership and the Harrison Group illustrated the importance of brand sites to travelers. It found 46% of respondents in a survey of active travelers used branded supplier sites when booking travel.

Sources Typically Used by US Active* Travelers When Booking Travel, Feb 2011 (% of respondents)

Branded sites may be among the easiest for travel firms to control, but they are just one among many sources for consumers to research and book travel. Brands must also focus on paid and earned media, in addition to their owned assets, to create and implement an overall online reputation management strategy.

The full report, “How Travel Brands Manage Their Online Reputation: Making the Most of Owned, Earned and Paid Media,” also answers these key questions:

  • Why is ORM important to travel companies?
  • What are the components of ORM?
  • What role does social media play in ORM?
  • How are travel brands using search marketing to boost their organization’s reputation?
  • How are travel brands integrating reputation management into their marketing programs?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.

Check out today’s other article, “How Blogs Influence Purchases and Recommendations.”


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