TripAdvisor: friend or foe?


TripAdvisor: friend or foe?

TripAdvisor: friend or foe?

Offering advice from millions of travellers worldwide, TripAdvisor provides word-of-mouth reviews of over 950,000 hotels, B&Bs and speciality accommodation; over 720,000 vacation rentals; and approximately three million restaurants. It is the site guests use to gain a full picture of an establishment or to find the most recommended places to stay or dine.

But can the validity of these online reviews be trusted?

Restaurant critic for the Observer, Jay Rayner, does not think so, nor do an increasing number of guests, food writers and restaurateurs who are calling for TripAdvisor to clamp down on fraudulent reviews with the Twitter campaign #noreceiptnoreview. The campaign suggests that the site only permits users to post a review should they be able to produce and scan a receipt from their experience. It is hoped that this measure will put an end to the false reviewers exploiting the site.

A recent article, published on the Guardian website, demonstrated the widespread problem of fake reviews, reporting the announcement by Amazon that it would be taking legal action against over 1,000 people offering fake reviews for a fee, as well as the news that an Australian holiday rental company allegedly bribed a customer to take down a bad review.

Rayner commented that providing a receipt along with a review would help restore trust in the website whilst an anonymous food inspector, operating under the handle @EaterWriter, told the Guardian he came up with the Twitter hashtag in defence of hospitality operators seeing "damage done to their businesses by reviewers who have not visited them, or posted exaggerated details of a visit".

Food writer and restaurant critic, Andy Hayler, admitted that although a receipt would not be a foolproof form of verification, it would at least be a step in the right direction. He suggested that those who could submit a valid receipt to the site be verified with a tick against the reviews they post.

However, TripAdvisor told the Guardian that the receipt suggestion is unlikely to see fruition as they believe in allowing all guests to have their say and not just limiting reviews to the person who paid the bill. It was further reiterated that TripAdvisor has "sophisticated systems and techniques set up to detect fraudsters" as well as steep penalties to ward them off.

Back to Blog