Latest from the ATTA
Kevin Carter sheds light on policies and resources to help you make the most of the review site for your business
The ATTA recently had the opportunity to do a brief Q&A with representatives from TripAdvisor.com, which comprises the largest online travel community worldwide, operating in 30 countries and hosting more than 60 million unique monthly visitors and over 75 million reviews and opinions.
Knowing that the review site’s reach and ubiquity make it a key concern for many of our tour operator and accommodation members, we decided to give our members a chance to dictate the questions themselves via a Quickpoll sent out in December. We reviewed and collated the responses into five questions that captured the most pressing and popular queries from the respondents.
Kevin Carter, Manager, Business & Trade Public Relations for TripAdvisor answers your questions below.
By far, the most popular questions from our members centered around whether TripAdvisor plans to offer reviews for tour operators as a distinct category; many of them are challenged in that they offer multiple day tours in numerous nations and find they can only be given exposure in the forums and Q&A sections, which do not link back to their company listings. Are there plans to add a category for multi-day tours, and if not what options do they have for reviews on TripAdvisor?
TripAdvisor is always looking at ways to improve the user experience and we’re constantly experimenting with new features and functionality to help travelers plan and have the perfect trip. We don’t have any news to share at the moment about any potential changes; however, we’re receptive to feedback about how we can enhance the site.
[Assistant Editor’s Note: While TripAdvisor has not released the news officially, Tnooz recently reported that the site has quietly added more tour and activity suppliers from tour-aggregator Viator, and talks about the implications. Also, to contact TripAdvisor for User Review and Ratings Support, TripAdvisor requires a free membership account, which you can create or login here.]
Our members want to know what the process is for moderating forums and reviews, and if there is an appeal process or way to have negative or fraudulent comments removed? Other respondents asked for feedback from TripAdvisor on where and how to respond to negative or fraudulent reviews on the site in the most effective and professional way?
Nothing is more important to us than the authenticity of our reviews. We have a world-class international team of specialists who spend 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, making sure our reviews are real.
We maintain the authenticity of reviews on TripAdvisor via our:
- Systems. Reviews are systematically screened by our world-class, proprietary site tools that are frequently upgraded.
- Community. Our large and passionate community of more than 60 million monthly visitors let us know if they see something amiss.
- Investigation Teams. An international team of special investigators evaluate any reviews that are flagged by our world-class tools or our community.
We want business owners to contact us if they feel there is an illegitimate review or a review does not comply with our content policies/review submission guidelines and we investigate every inquiry.
On every review, the community can click on the “Problem with this review?” link and flag it as suspicious or a violation of our guidelines. We field all reports and track down all leads forwarded to us by the entire TripAdvisor membership, as well as any leads received from business owners. We also encourage owners to flag suspicious reviews through their Management Center.
The Management Center also features a management response tool that allows them to respond to traveler reviews on the site, and owners always have the last word when they respond. TripAdvisor also provides owners with information about how they can better use the site and FAQs regarding review guidelines.
We strongly encourage business owners to take advantage of the management response feature. When responding to a review, it’s important to respond quickly, show that you care, keep a professional tone and state the facts.
Does TripAdvisor offer services or tools to help promote an organization’s TripAdvisor profile, and what are avenues for business owners to be active on the site to promote their adventure travel offerings?
TripAdvisor offers a number of free resources and tools to business owners via the Management Center I mentioned. The first step is registering as an owner for free. Once registered, they gain access to a number of powerful services allowing them to:
- Update their primary listing photo
- Add photos of their business
- Encourage guests to share candid reviews with TripAdvisor widgets
- Add videos
- Monitor and respond to reviews
- Evaluate their performance
Has TripAdvisor found, through research and its own experience, that there is a real problem with companies falsely posting their own positive reviews or posting negative reviews about competitors? If yes, what is TripAdvisor doing to help mitigate this issue?
Attempts are rare as the vast majority of owners understand the tremendous risk to their reputation and their business if they attempt to post fraudulent information on review sites like TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor works hard to educate businesses on the proper and effective use of TripAdvisor, including its policies on content integrity. Any business suspected of violating these are warned first and, if the activity persists, we will then penalize the business.
Our investigation team is constantly conducting examinations of submitted content. Our automation and investigation team are exceptionally effective at identifying multiple or widespread attempts to manipulate the system and when discovered the content is removed and the property is penalized. Our passionate community of travelers and owners also report suspicious content that is duly investigated and if any review fails to meet our guidelines it is removed from the site.
Destination experts are regular contributors who in most cases give helpful, friendly advice and welcome new members. They are volunteers and it’s important to note that they are not moderators, administrators or members of our support team. Moreover, they are not responsible for removing inappropriate content or answering site-related questions.
Assistant Editor’s Note: Here are direct links to more resources to help you refine your TripAdvisor profile and play an active role on the site:
More information on Business Listings
‘How to’ Guides
How to make the most of photo content & photo management tools on TripAdvisor
How to make a great promotional video for your business
Displaying your TripAdvisor rating and latest reviews on your site
One page Tip Sheets
10 ways to improve your TripAdvisor performance: The New Management Dashboard
Responding to Traveler Reviews: Best Practices
Set up a Successful Special Offer: Top 10 Tips