I use TripAdvisor quite a lot, to find out what the ‘crowd’ think of hotels/restaurants, etc. before going there for the first time. I always take the ratings with a pinch of salt, but my recent experience with TripAdvisor has taught me that they actually censor negative reviews – apparently at the request of the business owner!
I wrote a very scathing review of a ‘hotel’ (was actually a glorified B&B) due to their terrible customer service. It was my 5th review I’ve written on TripAdvisor, the other four being very well received. This negative review was published for a week or more before suddenly being removed. I received the following from TripAdvisor:
“Thank you for your review. We have opted not to publish your review as it does not meet our guidelines for traveler reviews. We have listed the guidelines below; you may also view them at http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/pages/userrev_rules.html.
*Unique and independent
(We allow one review per visit to any given location. No repeated reviews of the same visit and/or experience by the same reviewer. No questions for other reviewers or comments about other reviews, reviewers or management responses.”
Basically this was obviously just an excuse to remove my review that had already been accepted. I changed the review to ensure there was no possibility of it breaching TripAdvisor’s regulations (it was debatable that it did in the first place) and re-submitted … and was ignored. Three times! My questions about what was wrong with the review have gone unanswered. Everything I had written was factually true and has been denied by Tripadvisor to would-be customers of that horrible B&B! Customers will therefore have to learn the hard way as they probably think TripAdvisor is balanced.
Given the fact the review was published and later removed, it seems likely that TripAdvisor removes reviews if the business owner is angry enough and complains loudly. Clearly this is never going to happen with positive reviews so basically people should know that Tripadvisor only offers a rose-tinted perspective!