When Trip Advisor Gets it Wrong
Without question, Trip Advisor has changed travel dramatically. It’s changed the way we review as well as book destinations and properties, from all-inclusive resorts to family-run boutique inns.
But the review site can get it wrong, and when it does, given Trip Advisor’s enormous clout, it can cause damage to businesses.
Take the Salem Inn in Salem, Massachusetts (see video below).
Like most properties, the inn could benefit from an objective critique. But it doesn’t have “body fluids on the bed sheets,” nor, as another “reviewer” wrote, is it “ so filthy even a rodent wouldn’t stay there.”
Those are horrific accusations and they’re not true.
I’ve stayed there several times, talked to the owners, and the comments are lies.
Now, I’ve met Trip Advisor’s CEO, and he’s an honorable guy, very caring about the industry. And while I’ve been reassured that TA’s proprietary software filters out bogus reviews and biased claims, I know this is not altogether accurate.
So when I asked Trip Advisor why at least it wouldn’t remove patently false reviews from obviously disgruntled would-be-guests, I was told that the site does not censor comments because “it’s not in the editing business.”
Minimally, the site should be able to “red flag” words like “rodents.”
So the Salem Inn took a hit and they are not the only ones as there are similar tales to tell. The Wyndham Sugar Bay in St. Thomas is another example.
Users of consumer generated review sites need to read several reviews from several different sites over a period of time before making their minds up about a property or destination.
There is something to be said for balancing consumer critiques with presumably, more objective, experienced reports by professional travel journalists.
Trip Advisor is very useful in guiding travelers, but Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) needs to read: User Beware