CAN YOU TRUST ONLINE TRAVEL REVIEWS?

Let me tell you about something that drives most businesses either online or offline. It’s why we choose one product on Amazon.com over another, and it’s why we stand in the longer line in the Food Court. Let’s talk about ‘Social Proof’. Loosely defined, social proof is ”

a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behaviour, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.” (Wikipedia)

Mom wasn’t lying when she warningly mocked us, saying “If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” Conforming to what other people are doing has many positive and negative consequences that I will leave you to debate in the comment section below. What we want to discuss here is how social proof affects our travel research and decision making, and whether we can really trust measurements like “star” ratings based on travel feedback, and can you trust online travel reviews?

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