By Nahrain John @karryontravel16 Apr 2018TripAdvisor may have done a few things in recent years that would make it seem like a rival to traditional Travel Agents, but maybe it’s not as big a foe as one might think. For example, the online review site stepped on a few toes when it started selling hotel rooms, and then later went on to sell tours and attractions. The two moves were seen as TripAdvisor’s attempt at becoming an online travel site, which of course, clashes with the business of in-store travel sellers. However in hindsight, TripAdvisor started selling room nights when the online world had already stolen a large chunk of hotel sales from consultants, AND the review site offered to pay consultants commission for any tour and attraction sales. So, not really a friend but also not really a foe. Now, a new study on travel research and booking behaviour shows TripAdvisor has a HUGE impact on the way consumers decide on travel, which consultants may be able to use in their favour. The ‘Path to Purchase’ study found TripAdvisor reached 60 percent of 325 travellers who researched and booked travel over the past 12 months. This means, that TripAdvisor is the most-visited website and app by consumers, who are using it to read reviews, check out photos and even, compare prices. “TripAdvisor’s influence over consumers’ hotel and flight booking decisions is staggering.” Martin Verdon-Roe, TripAdvisor Vice President of Product & Marketing, Hotels What does this mean for Travel Agents? Well, we’ve all known for some time that travellers are doing the majority of their research online but knowing exactly which site is an opportunity to engage with these people and make bookings. “This gives savvy travel businesses a crucial window of opportunity to engage with these travellers on TripAdvisor at a highly influential stage, especially through our display, metasearch and Business Advantage products,” Verdon-Roe added. While consultants can’t set themselves up as ‘Travel Agents’ on the site, they can establish themselves as reviewers as use their bank of images and knowledge to comment on hotels and draw in potential clients. Knowing the demand for peer-to-peer review is also a great way to convince your clients to purchase flights with certain airlines, stay in suggested accommodation and more. READ: TripAdvisor could make hotel room service obsolete READ: Best airlines in the world & Australia, according to reviews Have you ever used TripAdvisor before booking a holiday? Other stories you may like SELLING OPPORTUNITY: Travel Agent says he’s making big bucks from Africa GLOBAL STARS GOSS: Kylie Minogue won’t be there BUT here’s 5 things that will GOING SOUTH: Come on Agents, here’s your last chance to WIN a trip to PERU!