Customer review site TripAdvisor has long been a favourite of travellers looking for an honest opinion. Home to thousands of reviews covering hotels, guesthouses and restaurants, TripAdvisor ranks establishments and gives a score out of five. Hotel profiles also include links and prices, so hoteliers stand to get a lot of business from this website.
Unfortunately, an increasing number of hotels are taking offence at some less-than-favourable reviews. A group of 400 hotel owners from the UK and US are launching a group defamation lawsuit against the website, claiming it has slandered their establishments and published reviews that are maliciously negative. Furthermore, some claim reviews are posted by rival hotels, even though the BBC maintains that "every review was screened, and those deemed suspicious were investigated".
With accusations such as "bedsheets were stained and dirty", "the beds are terrible", and "the rooms are cheaply decorated and look like they have been furnished from jumble sales", it's no wonder hoteliers are rushing to defend their pride and joy.
However, as well as helping tourists make the right choice, it is worth pointing out that TripAdvisor can help hoteliers learn from their mistakes. A quick look at the website could help produce a clearer picture of how guests see a hotel, when they are free to make an anonymous comment.
Simple changes – like ensuring towels are luxurious, linen is clean and beds are comfortable – could make a world of difference. In the future, then, perhaps more hoteliers will come to view TripAdvisor as an opportunity to improve their services and enhance their reputation.