Market researchers eDigitalResearch has urged travel companies to boost consumers’ social media sharing ability after it found that travellers are most inspired by friends and family when it comes to booking a holiday. The company’s study, named eTravel Benchmark, said that websites were failing to capitalise on the sharing element of social media, which displays their ‘product’. “It is important that travel sites take the steps to communicate with online users through various platforms, especially social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Trip Advisor where consumers are already conversing with one another,” said Derek Eccleston, research director at eDigitalResearch. The research found that travel websites had increased online communication and as a result, consumer relationships had been strengthened. “Holidays are often the biggest, single expense of the year and our research demonstrates that consumer satisfaction is steadily increasing as travel sites begin to offer various contact methods and provide the service and reassurance that people now expect,” added Eccleston. Rated on its customer services, the holiday camp and self catering sectors were the top performing sector, while hotel chains and budget travel brands were scored poorly.