In its 10 year history Trip Advisor has attracted a fair amount of publicity both positive and negative but never has there been such a storm brewing as this week it was announced that hundreds of hoteliers are lining up to be involved in a legal challenge to the travel review site.
The case is being brought by a reputation management company KwikChex.com on behalf of hoteliers who claim that many of the reviews on the Trip Advisor site are defamatory. The story has appeared on the BBC and is now doing the rounds of the national newspapers with hoteliers recounting stories of false reviews that have damaged their hotels.
So do the hoteliers have a point? Is Trip Advisor really damaging their businesses or are the hoteliers and KwikChex.com missing the point of the site and potentially damaging themselves by not engaging with Trip Advisor properly.
Trip Advisor is an open review site where once you have signed up you can post a review of a hotel, restaurant or attraction. The nature of such a site is that there will be positive as well as negative reviews. This is the key point, everyone who goes on Trip Advisor understands this and will balance the good against the bad reviews and make an informed decision. As it happens the vast majority of the reviews on Trip advisor are positive.
Trip Advisor has a built in system which allows Hotels to publish a response to any review and to have any review that breaches Trip Advisors guidelines removed. Maybe hoteliers would be better advised interacting with Trip Advisor rather than taking the site to court.
It’s not that Trip Advisor is unresponsive to businesses, one of our clients, a major international travel company, contracts us to look after their online reputation and Trip Advisor regularly removes reviews for us that are defamatory. In fact this week it only took 2 hours from a review being published for us to contact Trip Advisor and for them to remove the post. In the meantime a couple of very positive reviews appeared that would only encourage travellers to visit the hotel.
It’s all about understanding Trip Advisors rules and regulations and flagging up any reviews that breach them. You would be very surprised at how strong some of the review guidelines are.