New research released by MarkMonitor on May 9 discovered that 68 percent of global consumers now exclusively book their travel plans online.
However, seven out of 100 respondents said that their plans usually do not meet their expectations. Being scammed by counterfeit products and having credit card information stolen were among the chief complaints.
Out of the individuals who reported negative experiences, 42 percent said the first thing they do is write a negative review. This was ahead of attempting to get a refund (40 percent) and complaining to a licensing body (35 percent). Researchers believe this highlights the power of "word of mouth" on the Web.
"With the growth of social media and a culture where consumers have the power to make their displeasure widely known through social networking sites, online brand protection has never been more important. This is especially evident in the fact that, when asked how they vetted a travel site, almost half (47 percent) of consumers said they read the reviews," said Mark Frost, CEO of MarkMonitor.
About 75 percent of consumers use the Internet to find discounted goods, guide books and event tickets for their vacations. The researchers claim that the Internet has made way for more travel bargains, but it hasn't always ended positively. Approximately 10 of the 75 percent who shop for travel items online said that they have bought a product that turned out to be fake. Additionally, 37 percent say that their debit or credit card credentials have been misused or stolen after booking travel plans online.
"In an increasingly digital world, consumers are exposed to more and more online fraud, counterfeiting and piracy," Frost continued. "While the desire is still to buy genuine goods, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in their approaches making it even riskier for consumers. For brands with an online presence, protecting themselves and their customers through a solid online brand protection plan is absolutely key."
As temperatures warm across the country, the travel industry is heating up as well. Research conducted by Market Track discovered that 64 percent of U.S. travelers intend to book summer vacations through an online booking site. In comparison, just 20 percent intend to book their travel plans over the phone.