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Trip - Advisor ?

stockvault-palm-tree-at-the-beach105345I have used TripAdvisor on a few occasions but none of them recently. The site which built its reputation on honest and reliable assessments of the accommodation providers and restaurateurs around the world is beginning to unravel. They have received many false reviews some very good ( posted by interested parties ) and some very bad ( posted by people with a grudge against the establishment.) It is now believed by hoteliers and restaurateurs that many of its anonymous reviews are fake or defamatory. The effect of a bad review can be devastating which, if true, serves them right, if fake then it is a cause for real concern. It can ruin good, small businesses. TripAdvisor has also received heavy criticism for their lack of willingness to accept a change in the review when matters have been put right.

It is clear to me that this site is not reliable and I would not use it with any degree of certainty. A new site Feefo has promised to deliver "the kind of authenticity that TripAdvisor  is widely criticised for not delivering" I understand that they intend to validate reviews by having to have proof of purchase. I am sure that will help but it will not tackle the inherently dishonest customer who wishes to bring pressure on the business for a discount following rather spurious dissatisfaction with the service. Friends of ours who rent out a property for holiday lets tell me they have had an increase in the number of customers in this category. Whilst not threatened with a poor TripAdvisor review I am told the implication was clearly present. No site can tackle this and it will come down to the hotelier or restaurateur to take their own action for defamation. This might suit large businesses but most small ones could not cope with the costs. It is therefore likely that the unscrupulous customer might have some success in negotiating discounts.

In these early days Silverlinksnetwork members might be willing to exchange their experiences, particularly the good ones so that we can all benefit. As the site grows we will have to review this service but that moment is probably a while off yet.

  • climpo

    Posted at 2011-12-14 09:01:03

    A very apposite story as TripAdvisor ( TA ) are waging a charm offensive at this very moment with as many UK tourism organisations and big businesses as possible, to counter the points in the silverlinks piece. I've used TA as both consumer and destination manager and believe the real story is not so much bad reviews from sad little losers or discount seekers but more about the "tescoisation" of the travel industry. For me TA and other such sites are no more than Trojan Horses for global commision houses such as Expedia to take total control of the marketplace at local and individual business expense.

    From an industry perspective individual business have no choice but to embrace TA and other such sites. If you want to observe how to handle negative and unjustified customer commentery just take a look at the Chewton Glen Hotel's TA review page..... Andrew Stembridge their MD knows exactly how to flush out the spurious review!!!

    From a destination perspective , the New Forest's 300+ business network has decided not import the TA widget or any like it to protect our independance at least maintain one channel that is outside the globalist trend.......... however we are developing our own customer content system and linking it to our Social Media and PR programmes. We will be launching "My perfect New Forest Day" as both an itinerary and review comms opportunity to build conversations with existing and potential visitors in the New Year.

    From a consumer point of view I used TA to consider the Egyptian Hotel I had initially chosen from an old fashioned thing called a brochure. Our investment was not small and because my wife is very cost conscious she forced me against my better judgement to check out the Hotel's review page on TA before we actually booked. The first 5 reviews were all negative , some considerably so . But as they appeared to have been penned by people who quite obviously either couldn't command their storyline very effectively or were just plain bigoted , it simply reinforced my original decision ..... much to my wife's consternation.

    The days leading up to our holiday and the journey itself was used to threaten all sorts of retribution if my insight proved false! When we did finally arrive her ( and my ) spirits soared, not only was the whole setting and infrastructure just wonderful, the staff brilliant , the rooms huge and high quality but the the whole holiday was among one of our best ever.

    Needless to say , on our return I happily logged on to TA to my share my opinion of our fabulous experience and great value for money as well as taking the opportunity to point out that I was very glad that I had ignored the rubbish reviews in the first place. Almost immediately 12 or so others said exactly the same thing......................

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