What is Tripadvisor?
Tripadvisor.com is a travel website that helps users gather travel information, write reviews about travel-related content, and participate in interactive travel forums. Tripadvisor actually started out as an online travel guidebook but has since embraced user-generated content. The website’s services are free and the information available are provided by its users. It has quickly become the gold standard and the “one-stop” shop for hotel, restaurant and destination information.
Controversies and Criticism Over Removing a Tripadvisor Review
With the sheer amount of user-generated content, there’s bound to be some flaws or issues with Tripadvisor’s business model. Tripadvisor has faced numerous controversies and criticisms for allowing unsubstantiated anonymous reviews to be posted about any establishment listed in its site. In October 2021, Tripadvisor published a transparency report where they finally acknowledged that about 9% of reviews are fraudulent or biased. This percentage is lower than other third-party reports which found around 15% to 33% of Tripadvisor reviews were fake. The company has yet to change its model or address the root of this problem.
The fake reviews are rampant due to the website’s lack of user verification and inadequate regulatory mechanisms. Users are not required to be confirmed customers or patrons of a business and there are no safeguards in place for spam accounts. The website’s review system is prone to abuse and is actually being abused by both the users and the businesses. Since the website relies heavily on user-generated content, it is very easy to cheat the system by exchanging discounts and upgrades with positive reviews. These all result in inaccurate and untrustworthy reviews. Although Tripadvisor does not tolerate these quid-pro-quo arrangements, the volume of these reviews make it impossible to weed out submissions that violate their guidelines. This means that these posts will most likely remain valid until otherwise reported.
Consequences of Not Removing Reviews From Tripadvisor
If negative or fake reviews dominate an establishment’s online presence, an obvious consequence is a decline in customer bookings. Users would logically not choose a hotel or restaurant with more negative reviews than positive ones. The financial impact of a bad online reputation can and will drive a business to the ground.
Thus, businesses on Tripadvisor must maintain a great reputation by providing equally great customer service in person and over the internet. By taking care of your guests, you accordingly take care of your online reviews.
Bad Review Management and Removal of Tripadvisor Reviews
It is inevitable that a business receives a negative or critical review and the best approach is to engage the user and give a reasonable response. However, it is not the same case for fake or spam reviews. Responding to all of the fake reviews could become an endless battle. The next best option is to have them removed by reporting the reviews.
Like Google and Facebook, Tripadvisor will only remove a bad or fake review if it violates their own community guidelines, is suspicious, or is posted in the wrong location. Tripadvisor can also help remove a negative review in case of an authentic property overhaul supported by genuine proof or evidence of a renovation.
Potential reasons for flagging the reviews are profane, vulgar or intolerant language, irrelevant information, second-hand experience, blackmail or biased reviews, extortive reviews, rumors and stealth or guerilla marketing.
Owners Reporting a Negative Tripadvisor Review
To report a review:
- Log in to the Management Center.
- Click the Reviews tab in the top navigation bar.
- Select Report a Review.
- Under What is the problem with the review? select the most appropriate reason.
- Select the title of the review in question.
- Leave your comment and click Submit.
Their moderation team will have a closer look at the review and will get back to you via email in the next 3-5 business days
Owners Reporting Blackmail by Traveler on Tripadvisor
Here are some best practices for submitting reports of potential blackmail to Tripadvisor before the review is submitted.
You should instruct employees to share any guest blackmail threats immediately.
Submit a potential blackmail review report as soon as possible via the Management Center:
- Log in to the Management Center.
- Click the Reviews tab in the Management Center menu.
- Select Report a Review.
- Select Report fraud where it says *Please tell us what the issue is:
- Under *What do you want to do? select Report blackmail threat
- Answer all the questions and complete the form with as many details as possible.
- If the review hasn’t been posted, choose “No.” (Read on for what to do if the review has already been posted).
- If this is your first report of this incident, choose “No.”
- At this point, you’ll need to provide some additional information, including the month and year of stay as well as the email address and/or the name of the potential reviewer. Please also describe the event at issue in the free form space provided. Try to provide as many details as possible — this information will help us identify the review if it’s submitted at a later date.
Other Tripadvisor users can also report a review. On every review, there is a flag icon that users can click. A quality assurance specialist will then go over the report.
Keep in mind that simply disagreeing with the content of the review is not sufficient to justify removing it. Tripadvisor does not arbitrate or referee factual disputes. Reports are reviewed on a case-to-case basis and it is not guaranteed that the review will be removed.
Seek Help or Assistance – Remove Digital
If all of these prove to be too overwhelming, too much work or if you would just like to entrust your online reputation to more capable hands, we at Remove Digital can help you. Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.