Customer feedback is highly essential in ascertaining the overall reputation and goodwill of a business. Hence reviews play a pivotal role in helping the business prosper. Whether you are a hotel or any other business, your reputation over the OTA is extremely important for your customers. One of the biggest players online is TripAdvisor. With over 570 million reviews and 490 million unique visitors, TripAdvisor dominates the search results and user ratings for over 7.3 million hotels, restaurants, and activities around the world, as per its top travel trend report (2017-18).
Since TripAdvisor ranks amongst the highly visited OTA sites, reviews on TripAdvisor have a crucial role to play. Again, a review from one user is likely to influence other customers’ decisions to a great extent. For instance, if someone claims that the property is immaculate and the staff service is excellent, you are likely to be drawn positively towards that comment. On the other hand, if someone complains about the property being grungy and staff incompetent, this will generally be a massive turn off for others. After all, 94% of customers avoided a business based on negative review as per the 2018 ReviewTrackers Online Survey
While the first step is to boost your popularity ranking on TripAdvisor to get more reviews, it is equally important to stay away from the negative reviews. Everything that a customer writes about a hotel or any other service, to that matter of fact, may not be accurate. It must be kept in mind that a review is more of a subjective opinion after (or not) a first-hand experience which may or may not be the same for everyone. In a nutshell, all reviews are not reliable. Again, a deliberately crafted negative review bringing ill reputation to a business counts as fraudulent behavior. Hence every owner would be concerned about keeping away from such reviews which might have a stronghold over influencing the customers’ decisions in a negative manner.
But TripAdvisor has a different policy when it comes to removing these reviews
So What Exactly Does TripAdvisor Do in This Regard?
Deleting a review from TripAdvisor is not an option in the first place for any business. So besides the obvious support in the form of ‘TripAdvisor review it,’ a listing business will have to look for different options to tackle the situation.
Give Me the Options
As noted above, based on the scenario, the approach will differ:
1. Resolved Issues
For instance, if you are able to resolve a customer’s issue, you can simply get in touch with them and ask them for an updated version of the review. Since they can’t edit the review once it is published, they can delete it and publish the updated version minus the negative part.
These are the few steps that will help the user in this regard:
[Note: TripAdvisor allows only one updated review per user for the same service or experience.]
2. Fake Reviews
Fake reviews are drafted specifically to defame a business or to simply bring an ill reputation to it with the aim of stunting its growth. However, TripAdvisor categorizes fake reviews in three different categories:
i) Biased, Positive Reviews: Includes the scenario where the reviews are curated by friends, relatives or someone having ties with the business. TripAdvisor has a Zero Tolerance Policy towards the scam reviews as it is believed to be compromising the integrity of this OTA platform. This kind of review boasting is considered illegal as per the norms of TripAdvisor.
ii) Biased, Negative Reviews: Some reviews are compiled solely with the aim of tarnishing a business’s reputation which is often labeled as ‘Vandalism.’ There might be a lot of possible sources behind that: a rival business trying to lower your ranking on the search page or someone blackmailing the business by using negative reviews as a threat.
iii) Paid Reviews: Sometimes a business might be lured to offer incentives to people in exchange for a larger number of good reviews. This kind of ‘Review Optimization’ is strictly prohibited and once again goes against the TripAdvisor policy.
Speaking of that if you spot a fake review on your page you will be required to flag it. You can report it to TripAdvisor through your Management Center Page. Here is the procedure:
○ Click on ‘Reviews’ at the top and select ‘Report a Review.’
○ Under “Please tell us what the issue is” click on ‘Report Fraud’ option.
○ Under “What do you want to do?” choose your issue type. Choices can be Blackmail Threat, Review Boosting, Review Vandalism, or Review Optimization.
○ You will have to answer two questions. These ask if the review was already posted and if this is the first time you filed a report of the incident.
○ Describe the event in detail and as clearly as possible in the text space provided.
[Note: It will take TripAdvisor a few days to process your request and the review will be removed only if the feedback is found to be genuine.]
3. Violating TripAdvisor Guidelines
TripAdvisor has its own set of guidelines when it comes to removing a review. If you feel that a review is “fraudulent or otherwise improper,” (in TripAdvisor’s terminology), you can report it for violating these guidelines:
[Note: Every bad review that you get should not be reported. In that case, the first option is to pacify the customers by responding timely and by using certain valuable techniques .]
4. Major Renovation/ Change of Ownership
These structural changes must be clearly indicated. You can provide the following documents to support your claim:
○ An online press release with the publication’s letterhead documenting the renovation
○ Letter from city officials or Tourist Board verifying the scope of renovation and duration of the closure
○ Building Permit from the local city/government verifying the renovation project.
[Note: Aesthetic changes like new carpet, paint or sign does not qualify as major renovation and so will not be taken into account if the review removal request is made solely on this basis.]
Useful Tips for TripAdvisor Review Removal
How to Manage the Reviews Effectively to Avoid the Hassle of Removal
Removing a review from TripAdvisor might not be an easy task and might take some time as the site processes over 10,000 reviews per day. But with the right technique and patience, your business will surely see the light of the day in the form of more positive reviews. In fact, one of the best ways to combat negative reviews is to strive for getting more positive ones. Hence it is important to invest in a good reputation management solution that will help ease your worries to a great extent.