Complaint Against TripAdvisor

  proudfoot 16:15 02 Sep 2011

Travel advice website TripAdvisor is being investigated by the advertising watchdog over allegations that not all its reviews are genuine.

A formal complaint was lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over TripAdvisor's claim that it publishes "reviews you can trust".

The allegation is that some of the reviews may not be "real or genuine", an ASA spokesman said.

The complaint was lodged by KwikChex, a brand reputation management company.

TripAdvisor says its website attracts 45 million unique visitors every month and contains more than 50 million reviews.

Many of the reviews are posted by site users and help advise customers about hotels and restaurants:-

No doubt many of the complainants are not happy with adverse publicity, though we suggest it generally is well founded. We do know of hotels that monitor sites like TripAdvisor and investigate adverse comments to determine whether there is any truth and rectify the situation.

My wife and I having travelled all over the world and used TripAdvisor for many years, can vouch that the vast majority of comments being made are to a large extent both fair and accurate.

We have consulted TripAdvisor on most occasions before booking hotels or package holidays.

We have placed positive posts on the site if having visited a hotel that has received in our opinion an unfair comment, likewise we have placed negative posts if in our opinion the hotel did not come up to what was expected. In many cases being the first to post a comment, particularly if we had a pleasant stay.

We have always attempted to be fair with our comments, sadly some people want "Champagne on Beer Money". We would not expect the same standard at a 1.2* hotel as at a 5* hotel.

We would expect the room to be clean and tidy upon booking in. Sadly at one hotel we stayed in once having omitted to check on TripAdvisor the room was dirty and there was a soiled cover on the bed.

It will be a sad day if a visitor to a hotel cannot share his or her experience with others.

In effect this would amount to censorship.

  Forum Editor 00:14 03 Sep 2011

"My wife and I having travelled all over the world and used TripAdvisor for many years, can vouch that the vast majority of comments being made are to a large extent both fair and accurate."

The formal complaint isn't about whether the comments are fair and accurate, it's about whether they are made by genuine hotel visitors.

  sunnystaines 07:59 03 Sep 2011

always found it good too, always go back a fair way reading reviews and note what points crop up on a regular basis as we all have different views and likes. also view all the photos section get a lot from doing that. I also post comments on their too including both good and poor findings.

  proudfoot 11:25 03 Sep 2011

FE has picked up on one small paragraph. I still maintain my comment is to a large extent Fair and Accurate. Like sunnystaines we check back to previous comments to get some idea if the posts are genuine.

It is possible for some comments not to be genuine but from many years of experience and having spoken to friends and aquaintanaces met on holiday most people can generally sift out those comments that are fair and accurate.

I still maintain that a hotel that receives a bad comment should look to determine why the comment has been posted.

Most people are genuine and will only take the time and effort make a comment that is true.

Fom experience we have actually corresponded with people either through the forum or by forum private message and subsequently met them on holiday and become friends.

  Pine Man 12:43 03 Sep 2011

I have used Trip Advisor for very many years and one thing I always do is, if there are lots of good reviews of a hotel with just a very small amount of really bad ones,check to see where the writer originates. If my experience is anything to go by they will be Americans and as such appear extremely hard, if not impossible, to please;-)

  Roadgiant 08:31 04 Sep 2011

Like others above I have used TripAdvisor for many years, have posted a couple of reviews and posted many times in the forums.I think in all honesty this complaint can be applied to many sites,reading between the lines, you can often figure out that the poster, owns/is employed/is connected the product or service, in fact sometimes I think some of the "bad" comments are made by rival organizations!! On a side note are people aware that TripAdvisor is owned by Expedia?

  T0SH 11:24 04 Sep 2011

Sites like Trip Advisor generate revenue from advertising and linking to the very hotels / bars /eating places ETC for making bookings with the review subjects, so given this it is hard to see how they could ever be considered as an independent ?

From a personal standpoint I did once try using their site to warn others of a hotel I had the displeasure to stay in luckily only for a very short period, I finally gave up after the third attempt at submission all resulting in a responses from the site administration asking me to substantially revise the review I was trying to submit ?

Cheers HC

  Forum Editor 11:45 04 Sep 2011

FE has picked up on one small paragraph.

I picked up on it because it demonstrated a total misunderstanding of what the complaint to the ASA was about. The complaint alleges that some of the reviews on the TripAdvisor site 'may not be real or genuine'. Whether they are fair or accurate isn't the point - it's alleged that they may be fake.

Like you, I have travelled extensively over many years, and I have often read reviews about hotels that differed wildly from my own experiences. That's life - not everyone has the same standards or preferences. Your statement that you "... can vouch that the vast majority of comments being made are to a large extent both fair and accurate." Is simply not true - the only thing you can vouch for is than in your opinion they are fair and accurate. I might disagree, but I repeat, this matter has nothing whatever to do with whether they are fair and accurate, but whether or not they are the views of genuine travellers.

You have absolutely no way of knowing whether that is the case, any more than I do.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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