Technology

TripAdvisor to name abusive hotels

Following the explosive news TripAdvisor had been deleting rape warning reviews, the booking website has now vowed to release the names of the hotels.

Earlier this month, reports saw TripAdvisor in hot water after users accused the site of deleting their reviews that document experiences of rape and assault.

The investigation into the allegations conducted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, found that TripAdvisor had removed a user’s hotel review that detailed rape by a security guard while staying at a Mexican resort.

The user, Kristie Love made the review in 2010, in hope of warning other travellers of her ordeal.

TripAdvisor swiftly deleted the review claiming it violated family-friendly guidelines.

Now, Tripadvisor has begun placing symbols next o hotels and resorts which have been accused of sexual assualt.

The warnings identify health, safety and discrimination issues in all of the website’s travel categories, according to a company spokesman, Kevin Carter.

“These badges will remain on TripAdvisor for up to three months. However, if the issues persist we may extend the duration of the badge,” he said. “These badges are intended to be informative, not punitive.”

“We want consumers to see good and bad reviews of businesses,” Carter said.

The new TripAdvisor badge.

According to The New York Times three resorts in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico were those flagged by TripAdvisor.

They include the hotel ranked at No. 2 by users, the Grand Velas Riviera Maya; the hotel ranked at No. 4, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya; and the fifth-ranked hotel, the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. Each had received thousands of reviews.

According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission obtained by the Journal Sentinel, TripAdvisor’s relationship with hotels is essential to their business model, placing emphasis on turning their visitors to the site into “engaged users and bookers”.

The contention lies between what role TripAdvisor plays as a forum for users to freely create and distribute content about real travel experiences, and their role as a commercial enterprise.

“TripAdvisor has always maintained — since our founding — a strict separation between our commerce and content businesses,” Tripadvisor spokesperson told Business Insider.

“Despite assertions and statements made by a recent USA Today article, there is no tie between commercial relationships with our partners and how our content guidelines are applied to reviews or forum posts published on the site.”

The website apologised in their statement, but failed to explain why reviews about sexual assault and rape, such as Kristie Love’s, had been removed.

“We believe any first hand experience should be posted to our site as a means to communicate to other consumers looking for information on where they should travel.

“We are horrified that this victim experienced this assault on her vacation in Mexico, and other travellers should be aware of this incident.”

Carter said that TripAdvisor thinks that its 455 million users provide the necessary “checks and balances. As always, we encourage consumers to do additional research outside of TripAdvisor.”

 



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