TripAdvisor has been told by the Advertising Standards Authority they have to rewrite some of their marketing claims.
The order comes as the review site has been claiming the reviews on their site can be ‘trusted’. However the ASA says that as entries can be added without any verification or authorisation, they cannot be sure if they are fraudulent posts or not.
The ruling is against TripAdvisor’s “reviews you can trust” and “more than 50 million honest travel review” statements. The watchdog has also commented that this ruling should be seen as a warning for other user generated review sites.
TripAdvisor have commented that they have an “advanced and highly effective fraud system” to remove fake content from being uploaded to the site. However the ASA claims that some non-genuine reviews can still appear on the site and not all users will be able to spot fraudulent posts.
Since the ruling, the UK version of the site has no mentions of the word ‘trust’; however, the .com site, accessible in the UK, still claims the site’s content as the “world’s most trusted travel advice”.
Perhaps the lesson here is that people using the site need to be more savvy. It is a review site, which by definition means that it presents personal opinions and will more often than not be biased. People’s opinions of a hotel are all based on what they have experienced in the past and what the staff were like during that particular visit. It is often a better idea to ask people you know about their experiences at a particular hotel, or to book through a last minute hotels site that will allow you to book a higher-quality hotel for a lower rate and hence enjoy a better standard of travel experience.
Therefore, while TripAdvisor is a great site to get an overview of how good a hotel is, it shouldn’t be taken too literally. As noted in a previous post, the best thing to do is look at the recurring themes in reviews and that way you will get the best representation of the hotel you are looking at.
What do you think about the ASA ruling? Do you use TripAdvisor, what have your experiences been? Let us know…