Will TripAdvisor Remove Bad Reviews?

We often get this question from hoteliers: Will TripAdvisor remove bad reviews? In most cases, the answer is no. But there are a few specific circumstances under which TripAdvisor will remove a bad review. Here’s how to determine whether the review in question is eligible for removal, how to make your request, how to respond, and what to do in the meantime. 

1. Your property has been renovated

If you can prove that your property has undergone major renovations, TripAdvisor may delete some of your old reviews to give your hotel a fresh start. But first, you’ll have to submit proof of major structural changes like alterations to hotel layout, the installation of new guest rooms or bathrooms, or complete property overhauls. Changes that are merely cosmetic, like new paint, curtains, or furniture, do not qualify. 

According to TripAdvisor’s support page on the topic, as proof of your renovation you will be asked to submit one of the following documents: 

  • Online press release with the publication’s letterhead documenting the renovation
  • Notarized copies of building/work permits
  • Notarized copies of the trades’ invoices for materials and labor
  • Notarized letter from city officials or Tourist Board verifying the scope of renovation and duration of the closure

In this case, you should definitely update the photos of your property on your TripAdvisor page while you wait for the approval of your request. You should also feel free to respond to some of your old reviews, and let your guests know that you’ve heard and understood their complaints, and as a result, your hotel has gotten a major facellift!

2. The review violates TripAdvisor’s guidelines

Reviews on TripAdvisor must adhere a very specific set of guidelines. Reviews must be:

  • Family-friendly – No profanity, threats, prejudiced comments, hate speech, sexually explicit language, or other content that is not appropriate for our community. Click here for more information.
  • Written by actual travelers – We accept reviews that detail first-hand experiences with the facilities or services of an establishment. General discussion that does not detail a substantial experience will not be posted. Click here for more information.
  • Relevant to other travelers – No content that is not relevant to trip planning and research. Click here for more information.
  • Unique and Independent – You may write one review on any given accommodation, restaurant, or attraction per visit. Click here for more information.
  • Original – No substantial quoted material from other sources, including (but not limited to) websites, e-mail correspondence, other reviews, etc.
  • Non-commercial – No promotional material of any kind, including self-promotional URLs. We reserve the right to reject any URL, e-mail address, or phone number for any reason.
  • Submitted for an appropriate property – Your review must be for an accommodation, restaurant, or attraction that meets our listing requirements.
  • Age requirement – No reviews by children under the age of 13
  • Valid email address and standard email formatting:
    • The email address associated with your account must be correct; we may need to contact you if there is a problem with your review.
    • No HTML tags and no excessive ALL CAPS, slang, formatting issues, repeated text, or typographic symbols.
    • Use the correct alphabet for the language in which you are writing. Do not transliterate into another alphabet.
    • Do not add unnecessary characters in order to reach the minimum character count for reviews. 

If you feel that you’ve received a review that does not adhere to these guidelines, you can report it to TripAdvisor for removal. CLICK HERE for instructions on how t make your request. 

3. You are being blackmailed

While rare, we do occasionally hear the story of the guest who said, “Give me a free upgrade or I’ll give you a bad review,” or something of the like. TripAdvisor does have a procedure in place to protect hoteliers against blackmail. In this situation, you need to be ahead of the game. The minute you get a verbal or written blackmail threat, you need to report the incident to TripAdvisor, even before the review is potentially submitted. Retain any evidence or paperwork and keep careful notes on the incident. Then, submit a report via the TripAdvisor management center immediately, ideally on the same day. 

Once your report is submitted, if a low-rated review matching the details of your report is submitted on your business, the TripAdvisor support team will be alerted. TripAdvisor handles each blackmail report on a case-by-case basis, and review thedirect evidence and peripheral information available to us before making a decision. You may be contacted for additional information that proves blackmail was involved.

I’ve submitted my request, but the review is still out there! What do I do now?

Once you’ve submitted your request, the next step is to reply publicly to the review ASAP. It may take some time for TripAdvisor to remove the review, and prospective guests will still be able to see it online in the meantime. 

In your response, the most important thing is to avoid getting angry or defensive. 64% of users agree that an aggressive/defensive management response to a bad review “makes me less likely to book that hotel,” according to a 2012 PhoCusWright report. But, if you respond correctly, it can actually help you, as 84% of users agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review “improves my impression of the hotel.”

In the case of a fraudulent review, damage control is the primary objective. You can try responding like this:

“I’m sorry you had such a terrible experience. Unfortunately we’ve searched our records, and we have no evidence of your stay. If you’re willing, will you please contact us privately so we can get to the bottom of this?”

Again, whatever you do, don’t get defensive. Keep your cool, and remember to put on a good face for any prospective guests who might read your response. 

26 responses to “Will TripAdvisor Remove Bad Reviews?

  1. I am appealing a second time to get a bad review reviewed again (removed) after reading some thought provoking comments about hotel and accommodation being held to ransom.

    We had a bad review that we didn’t know about (in 2009) until a guest of ours told us.

    A guest who stayed with us stated ‘Horribly Place’ to stay. This was against a backdrop of them wanting a refund on the balance of a 7 night stay after only staying two nights. This bad report was nothing to do with us being a ‘Horribly place’ but a attempt to get a refund or they will write a bad report.

    The more Trip Advisor lets these one person bad reviews through Trip Advisor reputation to the tourist industry will go downhill.

    I think your system is flawed. No report should be allowed through until at least two/three bad reviews have been received to stop illicit or downright mischievous reviews being allowed to be published.

    Until you amend your system your reputation in the hotel and B/B world will go only one way, downward, and will be ignored by potential clients and advertisers.

    I await your comments.

    June Franks

    1. Hi June,

      Thank you so much for your inquiry on our blog. Revinate is a separate company from TripAdvisor, so unfortunately we cannot reach out to them on your behalf. TripAdvisor, like all other review sites, have their own policies and procedures regarding reviews and management response. If you would like to speak to them directly about the issues you are experiencing, please contact them through their Business Owner’s webpage here and they will be able to assist you: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Owners

      Best,
      Carolyn

  2. We purchased Shoalwater 1102 the end of Feb 2013. We completely renovated floors, paint, lighting, furniture…everything! I will be glad to forward you our invoices for the work and you can see the updated results online now. I would hate for someone to miss the opportunity to stay there now just because of old reviews on former owners. Thank you for your help!

    Ezsma Holmes
    601-383-3939

  3. Dear Sir/madam
    i am Babu Thapa from Nepal and i have a budget hotel here, and the thing is one of my guest they ask me 50% discount with out reason, while he/she stayed here, i didnt give any discount bcoz i know i was not wrong and finally he/she wrote one terrible and one poor review on TA.
    so how can i prove to TA that the guest is right, and we are wrong?

  4. actually i have no idea about online things coz i m not well stutde but i know that how run my busniess and i m doing very well with the travllers coming to my place from allover the world but still i really mat some ppl who blackmailed me to upgrade there stay or they put me a bad review on tripadvisor and also if i do upgrade it will be a cheating to my other guests coz they had the rooms and they were happy with that ..and so coz they puted bad reviews and i also did the problme with review but its just not working and i have no idea that what should i do i even dont know that if i writing this all here is right or not but i need help so badly

    1. Hi Jonny,

      Thanks for posting, and I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had trouble with blackmail reviews. There are a couple of things you can do.

      First, you should respond to the review and say something to the effect of, “Thank you for taking the time to write a review. Unfortunately, we’ve reviewed our files and have no record of this incident at our hotel. Can you please contact our front desk? We’d love to discuss this offline.” If you respond this way, any prospective guests who see the review will realize that you care about your guests’ experience, whether or not the information presented in the review is true.

      Second, you can collect all the evidence you have about this, and try reporting the review to TripAdvisor as being fraudulent. Unfortunately, since the review is online already, it’s much harder to get TripAdvisor to remove it. But, it’s worth a try.

      Third, in the future, you should educate all staff to report all blackmail threats to you immediately. Then, you should file a report on your TripAdvisor management center ASAP, before the review appears online. This way, TripAdvisor will be on the lookout for the fraudulent review, and they can catch it before it goes online.

      I hope this helps. Are you currently using an online reputation management solution?

      Best,
      Carrie

  5. Hi, on TA is very bad review from a guest about our excursion by boat, thing is we are not on TA as firm so can not post a reply. We begged guests to get on board but they were so drunk and desoriented that we couldn’t do anything, they wanted to stay on the island and we had to live on, for the other guests, but now those drunk guests are saying we left them…and lied a lot about everything. What do I do? Can you remove do comment ?
    Plus, other firms with the same service are showing guests that false review and I can’t do my job.

    1. Hi Maria,

      Thanks for reaching out! Unfortunately, this is not the kind of review that TripAdvisor would remove. But, you’re not totally helpless here. The first thing you need to do is claim your business on TripAdvisor, so that you can reply to your online reviews. Here’s an article on how to do that: https://www.revinate.com/blog/2014/09/claim-your-hotel-on-tripadvisor/

      Once you can respond to your reviews, you should start doing so right away. This is especially important for reviews like the one you mentioned. Here’s a guide on how to do that: https://www.revinate.com/blog/2014/09/how-to-respond-to-negative-hotel-reviews/

      Let me know if you have any further questions. I’m happy to discuss!

      Best,
      Carolyn

  6. We had a guest that was overcharged and called Guest Assistance who on the line. He swore, threatened and screamed the whole time but we were still immediately able to remove that charge. It did not instantly hit his prepaid debit card and he would not let us speak to the bank. He escalated the situation by physically threatening employees, repeatedly calling (all calls went through GA and were recorded with a 3rd party on the line) and emailing pictures of himself and then finding staffs private facebook accounts, saving pictures and emailing them to management. Hilton directed us to contact the authorities who are now involved. We have been instructed by both Hilton and the State Police who have visited him to have ZERO communication with him, it all needs to be handled through authorities. He posted a negative review today and we reported it but need to follow instructions not to respond and would like it pulled ASAP.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get this removed faster?

    Thank you,
    Brianna

  7. Hi there, Ive been reading various blogs etc since yesterday regarding getting Tripadvisor reviews removed. Seems its near enough impossible. The reason I have been looking in to it is that yesterday I received an email from a guest that just checked out of a villa I manage blackmailing me. They said they will leave 15 bad reviews on Tripadvisor and ruin the villas reputation unless I give them a refund. The reason they want a refund is that in 2 of the bedrooms (out of 6) there is no air con. Fans are provided and this is noted on this listings. They said they could not use these rooms. I went out of my way to try and help them with this during their stay but they were not happy no matter what. In addition to this these guests violated the terms and conditions of the villa. The had extra people at the villa without prior consent, they made lots of noise to the extent that the hotel manager from next door complained and threatened to call the police, they were very rude to on site staff, they left the villa in a terrible state and checked out late. They blatantly disregarded the T’s and C’s. Throughout the booking process, before they arrived my alarm bells went off, I wish I had not accepted their booking as the lead traveller did not come across as nice at all, was rude and patronising on the phone to me, was late paying the balance and said they wanted to pay on arrival once they had seen the villa. I obviously said that wasnt acceptable per the T’c and C’s and he then paid. He tried to get out of paying a damage deposit and was generally the most difficult guest I have ever dealt with. I have managed properties for 4 years. For this particular Villa, we only started advertising it in May this year, so it was our first season and the last thing I want is it to be ruined before its even began, The villa is stunning. Any advice is always helpful! thanks!

    1. Hi Lucy,

      Thanks for your comment. You should report this to TripAdvisor immediately, BEFORE the guest starts writing reviews. It’s much easier to get the reviews removed if you can report the blackmail threats before reviews start appearing online. Here’s TripAdvisor’s guide to reporting blackmail: http://www.tripadvisor.com/TripAdvisorInsights/n694/reporting-potential-blackmail-tripadvisor-report-threats-immediately

      I hope you’re able to get this taken care of!

      Best,
      Carolyn

  8. To Tripadvisor On the reviews for our company Port Princess Dolphin Cruises “Will C” has submitted a review for the 25th July, 2015 However, on that evening we had the Ikea Social Club (you can check with Andrew Peckham from Ikea) and Will’s group was on the big boat the Dolphin Explorer We would like this adverse review removed as it is not for this company

    1. Hi Pauline,

      Unfortunately, Revinate is not TripAdvisor, and we have no power to remove the review for you. However, if the review has been submitted for the wrong company, it’s possible that TripAdvisor will remove the review. Follow this link to start your application to have the review removed: https://www.tripadvisorsupport.com/hc/en-us/articles/200614367-As-an-owner-or-manager-how-do-I-report-a-review-that-violates-your-guidelines-

      Please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Best,
      Carolyn

  9. It generally happens that people deliberately upload a negative review sometimes, which might be fun to them, but it costs a lot the business about whom they commented. They have no clue how badly we suffer. There should be some guidelines on TA or some authentication should be asked before uploading any review. It usually lead to bad reputation of a business, which eventually affect it in real terms.

  10. Managing online reputation and keeping a check on malicious bad reviews is a crucial aspect which determines the success of an organization. This article has listed the most effective tips for managing online reputation.

  11. We had a bad review today from someone who actually planned to stay with us in May. Which means that this person has not even stayed with us but writes a review ……. how are my chances to get this review removed ?

    1. Hi Martina,

      I don’t think it hurts to try to get the review removed. Here’s the link to report a review for violations of TripAdvisor’s guidelines: https://www.tripadvisorsupport.com/hc/en-us/articles/200614367-As-an-owner-or-manager-how-do-I-report-a-review-that-violates-your-guidelines-

      Unfortunately I cannot comment on whether or not TripAdvisor is likely approve your request to remove the review as I do not know the details of the situation. Was the reviewer commenting on his or her experience with the pre-stay booking process? Or did the reviewer fabricate a stay that hasn’t happened yet? In any case, TripAdvisor rarely removes reviews unless they are a clear violation of its guidelines. But, I wish you the best of luck in resolving this issue!

      Best,
      Carolyn

  12. Hello, an employee was terminated at at one of our hotels and she said she will write a review on tripadviser as she feels it was unfair. Can this be removed and is that even legal?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Mike,

      Good question. That sounds like it should fall under TripAdvisor’s policy for blackmail, and violates its Terms of Service. I would preemptively report the potential blackmail threat to TripAdvisor via your Management Center with the details of the situation and the employee’s name. This way they’ll be on the lookout for the review before it even appears.

      Best,
      Carolyn

  13. I had a query recently at a workshop I was giving and had no reply! If someone puts up a bad review after a visit, but it is clear that the review does not relate to their premises, what can you do? It would seem the tourist had gone to a number of different sites and confused one for another. Have you any suggestions please?
    Kind Regards
    Fidelma

    1. Hi Fidelma,

      If it’s clear that the reviewer was not talking about your property, then you may have grounds to have the review removed. I would go ahead and report it in your management portal on TripAdvisor. They may or may not remove it depending on their investigation, but it’s worth a try!

      Good Luck,
      Carolyn

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