The dreaded TripAdvisor warning

Take a close look at the image on the left. I hope this is the closest you will ever be to the dreaded TripAdvisor warning message that is splashed across the pages of hotels that TripAdvisor thinks are interfering with hotel reviews.

TripAdvisor’s Web site says that it has a team of moderators that examine questionable reviews. They claim to use automated tools to help flag questionable content for review in addition to help from the community, in the form of the ‘Report Problem with a Review’ link.

So what should you do to avoid the red text of death? According to the TripAdvisor FAQ, avoid these practices:

  • Writing a review for your own property
  • Asking friends or relatives to write positive reviews
  • Submitting a review on behalf of a guest
  • Copying comment cards and submitting them as reviews
  • Pressuring a TripAdvisor member to remove a negative review
  • Offering incentives such as discounts, upgrades, or any special treatment in exchange for reviews
  • Hiring an optimization company, third party marketing organization, or anyone to submit false reviews
  • Impersonating a competitor or a guest in any way

As much as you want to see a glowing review on your page, it’s not worth it at the expense of looking like a business that is willing to lie and cheat to make a sale. As a consumer, it’s hard to see that box of text and think that your property is worth my hard-earned money. I would think, “Hm, what else does this hotel do to cut corners?” You should also know that if you’re busted, you will drop in the TripAdvisor popularity index and disqualify your hotel from inclusion in the Travelers’ Choice Awards.

Any experience with the red text of death? Let me know in the comments, below.

Michelle Wohl is the VP of Marketing at Revinate. Based in San Francisco, Michelle has worked in technology marketing since graduating from Cornell University.

One Response to “The dreaded TripAdvisor warning”

  1. Rob Laird

    I have to say that it must be very difficult for Tripadvisor moderators (with all their “alogorithmic” applications!) to identify very many bogus reviews. However, (For what it is worth)it was necessary last year for us to advise two contributors to the Tripadvisor site of possible legal action following their unwarranted and uninformed criticism of a somewhat enthusiaistic, but very genuine, testimonial posted by one of our clients. In the end, all content was (sensibly) deleted by TA. Personally, I believe that the commendable theory of TA. is far too vulnerable to being hijacked by anyone who has too much time on their hands, with a chip on their shoulder, and, at the risk of evoking a cliche, a distinct need to ‘get a life’. This always interferes with the genuine and constructive submissions to the site. Unfortunately, Tripadvisor adopt a clandestine position, and when confronted by the professional leisure industry headon appear evasive, and their representation unqualified to manage critical input.The lady to whom I addressed questions could only refer to “the ethos of our founder” (As though the man was a deity), and confess to having formerly been a Tupperware sales person (I did not pose the question regarding her background). However, this was a regional TA. manager. The problem with organizations like Tripadvisor is that they commit comments to The Web, without any apparent power or ability to check, arbitrate or adjudicate. They are not alone in this, within their own sector or others, but they are a business, and adevertising spend is their staple income.

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