Sunday 18 February 2018

Hoteliers welcome TripAdvisor rebuke

Hoteliers have welcomed a ruling made by the Advertising Standards Authority
Hoteliers have welcomed a ruling made by the Advertising Standards Authority

Jolyon Attwooll

Hoteliers have welcomed a ruling that stops TripAdvisor from saying its reviews are posted by "real travellers".

British hoteliers have welcomed a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that TripAdvisor must not say all its reviews are posted by "real travellers".

Miles Quest, a spokesman for the British Hospitality Association, said: "We agree with the ruling – the industry has had issues with a number of aspects of TripAdvisor.

"We feel that the more people who use the website understand the basis on which the reviews are made, the better."

"Some hoteliers feel some of the reviews leave something to be desired in terms of accuracy and content, and have found it very hard to find redress."

This follows an Irish Times report this week that one of the State’s largest hotel chains the Carlton Hotel sent an email to employees encouraging them to post positive reviews of the chain’s 10 hotels on the Tripadviser website.

The authority's ruling came after two hotels and the online reputation specialist KwickChex complained about phrases on the website such as: "Reviews you can trust"; "read reviews from real travellers" and "More than 50 million honest travel reviews and opinions from real travellers around the world".

The complainants said that TripAdvisor did not verify the reviews and therefore could not prove that they were genuine or from real travellers.

The ASA ruled: "The ad must not appear again in its current form.

"We told TripAdvisor not to claim or imply that all the reviews that appeared on the website were from real travellers, or were honest, real or trusted."

In its defence, TripAdvisor said it used "advanced and highly effective" fraud detection systems and dedicated substantial resources to identifying and minimising any fake content.

But it said it was "not practical" for it to screen each review manually before posting and that there was no practical way for it to verify identities owing to its independence from operators.

TripAdvisor said reviewers were asked to sign a declaration that their review was genuine and honest. The ASA concluded that this did not prevent non-genuine reviews from being posted.

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