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The feedback economy

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Online feedback sites have become an increasingly important tool for consumers researching how to spend their leisure time – from the best place to spend a family holiday to where to get lunch. A new report by Barclays looks at the potentially revolutionary effect this is having on the UK hospitality and leisure industry.

Despite the boom in online reviews, this is a comparatively under-researched area in the UK. As part of the research for the report, Barclays Feedback Economy, an extensive survey of more than 2,000 customers and 541 businesses was carried out to assess the impact of review sites on consumer behaviour and the industry.

The report predicts that a more successful hospitality and leisure sector has the potential to add an extra £2bn to the UK economy with the impact on the sector’s large supply chain contributing a further £1.2bn.

Putting processes in place to manage customer feedback better will create a more responsive sector, attracting more overseas tourists and encouraging domestic visitors to stay longer and spend more, increasing spend per head and benefitting the sector’s wide supply chain. 


The rise of feedback sites has been a disruptive force within the hospitality industry over the past decade. Our research reveals that those working in the UK hospitality and leisure industry feel that these faster, easier and simpler feedback mechanisms are a good thing for the industry – resulting in more agile businesses better able to serve the evolving needs of consumers.
Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality and Leisure at Barclays

Leaving feedback – a growing trend

UK consumers are more likely to use and leave feedback than ever before. Three fifths (59%) of UK consumers state that reading other people’s reviews plays an important role in helping them decide where to visit or stay. This rises to 70% amongst 25-34 year olds.

Businesses see the value of feedback

A majority (82%) of the hospitality industry say that feedback has been beneficial for their business and two thirds (68%) think it has been beneficial for the sector as a whole. Businesses are deriving a range of benefits from online feedback such as more repeat business (63%) or the identification of issues within the business (61%).

TripAdvisor is the most relevant

TripAdvisor was seen to be the most relevant online feedback site, with 60% of respondents citing the website as being relevant to their business.

The traditional route of professional reviews in guidebooks is in decline, seen as relevant by less than one quarter of the sector (23%). Professional reviews by newspapers and magazines fare better, rated as relevant by a third (33%) of the sector, rising to nearly half of bars and pubs (46%).

Strategies for success

The report ends with recommendations for businesses on how they can take advantage of the potential £3.2bn boost that online customer feedback could bring to the economy. They include having a joined-up strategy for gathering and responding to customer feedback and learning from early adopters that have been quick to recognise the potential benefits of online feedback.

Explore the full report (PDF 1.6MB)Explore the full report (PDF 1.6MB)
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