TripAdvisor has apologized to Ms. Love (publicly and in private), concerning the removal of a forum post on our site more than seven years ago. That post has since been re-published and we are pleased Ms. Love is active in our community. Back in 2010, when Ms. Love attempted to post to our forum, TripAdvisor had a policy whereby we judged content to be in breach of our guidelines if it did not adhere to family-friendly language. Over the years, we changed how we applied our publishing policies to allow more descriptive reviews and forum post that meets our guidelines on the site and also discuss serious incidents like rape or assault. Recently, we also updated our training of review and forum post moderators to ensure health & safety information remains visible on our site. For several years now, TripAdvisor has published thousands of reviews and forum posts on our site that address consumers' first-hand experiences with health and safety issues during their travels, and we will continue to do so (see background materials for examples).
TripAdvisor has always maintained - since our founding - a strict separation between our commerce and content businesses. 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.
TripAdvisor is committed to helping travelers better understand issues of health, safety and possible discrimination concerns that they might experience on their journey. TripAdvisor has implemented ways we can better share this information within our site experience, and we continue to work with our community on ways we can improve to better serve the needs of travelers worldwide.
MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
TripAdvisor is committed to ensuring our users have complete and accurate information to plan their travel. This is especially true in matters related to health and safety.
TripAdvisor understands the concerns about our publishing guidelines. As a user-generated content platform that receives hundreds of pieces of content per minute every day, we believe our guidelines work well, but we also know we don’t always get it right. As we always do, we continue to review our guidelines and will continue to update them to better serve our community.
TripAdvisor hosts a platform that is dedicated to sharing first-hand experiences by travelers. We enable travelers to post detailed reviews describing their experiences with a property, including reviews that contain descriptions of assault, being injured or other safety issues. We have, unfortunately, thousands of mentions within reviews of these types of experiences on TripAdvisor (more below on this).
We will post content that complies with our guidelines, which are carefully designed to ensure that travelers have accurate and first-hand information from other travelers. We work to make our guidelines clear and are transparent. You can view the guidelines here, since we have different guidelines for reviews and for our forums:
- Reviews: https://www.tripadvisorsupport.com/hc/en-us/articles/200614797-Our-guidelines-for-traveler-reviews
- Forums: https://www.tripadvisorsupport.com/hc/en-us/articles/200613647-Our-guidelines-for-Forum-posts
There are a number of ways we actively make health & safety information available through the site experience:
1. Search for Health and Safety Issues: If consumers have questions about any aspect of their trip regarding, they are able to search reviews within a specific business property listing on TripAdvisor for words concerning health, safety and discrimination (or any keyword of interest), and easily read reviews using those terms. This feature has been on the site for years and is an easy way to quickly find out information on a number of relevant topics.
2. Notifications on Businesses in the News for Health and Safety Issues: TripAdvisor has introduced a notification system that encourages travelers to do additional research on a property when media reports discuss issues of recent and/or ongoing health, safety or discrimination issues that might not be readily available to consumers within TripAdvisor reviews content. Each business is reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if a notification should be placed on a property’s listing page. Since being introduced two months ago, media notifications have been placed on 8 business listings.
3. Guiding Reviewers who submit second-hand information: It is often the case that review submissions can be rejected because they contain second-hand information. In the past, TripAdvisor would send a generic email to notify the reviewer that their email was rejected because it was out of policy, which leads to why some travelers did not understand why their reviews weren’t published after their submission. We have made it easier for users to understand when there is an issue with second-hand information and explain what specific data needs to be removed in order to re-submit their previously rejected reviews. Often times, with a quick removal of a short sentence or phrase by a consumer, a review submission meets our posting guidelines for recent first-hand experiences. Since updating this communication to our users, our resubmission rate and the success rate of those resubmissions has increased.
4. Educating Forum Moderators: TripAdvisor has worked to better educate its public travel forum moderators and internal moderators on the importance of posts pertaining to health, safety and/or discrimination concerns. We are continually evaluating our policies and looking for enhancements we can make the site experience to better enable consumers who want to access relevant health, safety and/or discrimination issues that are addressed in review and forum post content.
TripAdvisor will provide further updates to our progress as appropriate when we bring new product offerings to market that help create a better user experience for consumers.
Here is a small sample from the thousands of mentions on TripAdvisor now of published reviews that mention some of these horrific experiences by travelers (reviews many in the media have selectively chosen to leave out of their stories on this matter):
Examples of some more recent health and safety reviews:
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150807-d153192-r228363519-Coco_Bongo_Cancun-Cancun_Yucatan_Peninsula.html (2014, drugged)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150807-d153192-r369339431-Coco_Bongo_Cancun-Cancun_Yucatan_Peninsula.html (2016, drugged)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150807-d154444-r158420098-Grand_Oasis_Cancun-Cancun_Yucatan_Peninsula.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT (drugged, first-hand experience at Grand Oasis Cancun, 2013)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150812-d154739-r144703604-Hotel_Riu_Yucatan-Playa_del_Carmen_Yucatan_Peninsula.html (sexually assaulted by hotel employee 2012)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g3176298-d897108-r27872869-Now_Larimar_Punta_Cana-Bavaro_Punta_Cana_La_Altagracia_Province_Dominican_Republi.html (sexually assaulted by staff in 2009)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150809-d939910-r158114666-Secrets_Aura_Cozumel-Cozumel_Yucatan_Peninsula.html (assault by entertainment staff 2013)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g297576-d1455727-r89279244-Hotel_Mercury-Batumi_Adjara_Region.html (raped at hotel 2010)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g147420-d209619-r424569034-Viva_Wyndham_Fortuna_Beach-Freeport_Grand_Bahama_Island_Bahamas.html (gang raped 2016)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g194863-d550823-r162748716-Hotel_California-Positano_Amalfi_Coast_Campania.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT (attempted rape 2013)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g494925-d6121056-r537644529-Kasbah_Africa-Ouirgane_Marrakech_Tensift_El_Haouz_Region.html (sexually harassed 2017)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g152515-d249481-r550483152-Esperanza_Auberge_Resorts_Collection-Cabo_San_Lucas_Los_Cabos_Baja_California.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT (recent 2018 posting that describes rape and the survivor's experience with hotel over the last year)
Describes a Death:
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g676358-d278879-r312592934-Doreta_Beach_Hotel-Tholos_Rhodes_Dodecanese_South_Aegean.html (2015 graphic description of death)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g262055-d2331162-r223830462-Panmarie_Studios-Ayia_Napa_Famagusta_District.html (2014 dead body in pool)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g30196-d4883549-r540126050-Barbarella-Austin_Texas.html (2017)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g664638-d238597-r540630731-THB_Los_Molinos-Ibiza_Town_Ibiza_Balearic_Islands.html (2017 with photos)
Our process to fight fraud
One more thing - you might find this short video about how TripAdvisor works to moderate content on our site helpful, and how we work every day to fight fraud and as we said above "are useful, trustworthy and relevant to those reading them." The piece focuses on how we fight fraud but gives you a sense of how we help moderate publishing guidelines also: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TripAdvisorInsights/node/2769