Open Letter to TripAdvisor

My TripAdvisor ID

I was prompted today to send a “Private Message” (henceforth to be known as “Direct Message” now I know they are not really private!) to one of the TripAdvisor staff members on the TA forum.

As I was tapping away, I soon went off from the specific matter I was contacting them about, and started discussing life as an owner and how I felt about TA in general.  Maybe I should change my TA avatar from a frog to a butterfly.

Anyway, I thought I would share part of this same message in an open letter to TripAdvisor:


I know I’m a pain in the butt.  It must seem that all I do is ask awkward questions. But I honestly think they need to be asked, and I think open discussion on the Owners Forum helping both sides understand each other’s standpoint.

In my opinion your responses are helping to remove one big source of owners’ frustration, namely the difficulty of entering into any meaningful dialogue with TA.

That said, there are certain points over which owners and TA are probably NEVER going to see eye to eye. In particular, the issue of fake and malicious or unfair reviews. At the centre of the problem is the TA policy of not checking (and usually being unable to check) the veracity of reviews.

I think I’m a fairly typical owner in that I’ll take fair criticism on the chin, apologise when I fall short and try to do better next time. But when I knew that 2 reviews of our property were plain lies, that led to genuine distress and anger, loss of sleep and all the rest, both for me and my wife.

Doubtless other owners in a similar position feel the same.  Most of us knock ourselves out to look after our guests and it’s crucifying when something like that happens.

I don’t take wrongs against me lying down – whether in day-to-day life or on review sites. I fight back to get wrongs against me righted, and it’s clear some other owners feel the same.  We can’t be expected to roll over when someone spreads lies about us.

Finally, I do appreciate your and other staff members’ recent contributions on the Owners Forum – though it may sometimes feel like a pretty thankless task from your point of view.  But it’s also a pretty thankless and sometimes fruitless task trying to get a malicious review removed.



5 responses to “Open Letter to TripAdvisor

  1. TripAdvisor reviews are not so difficult to remove. I’ve had good success in working with them. They’ve been pretty fair with me (well, I’ve been fair with them too, never requesting anything without a strong case). The secret is all about the reviews not matching the guidelines.

    • Hi Mark

      The main point is that there is considerable scope for improvement in procedures, not that it’s impossible to remove fakes. I have no desire to see TA go “nichons dans l’air” unless it continues to stonewall concerned owners – I would rather it addressed the faults.


  2. richard mcevoy

    Hi Phil
    In response to your “Open Letter to TA” I am the person to whom you tried to respond via Private Message, I am not an owner but acting on behalf of an owner and I do n0t & never have had access to the owners forum, I sent you a private message in response to another forum re defamatory postings and the using by TA of the “Freedom of Speech ” & Immunity being used by TA as protection from prosecution, I informed you by Private message so as not to upset TA that “Immmunity is only a protection for Tripadvisor or any other review site when they are unaware of any possible defamatory content, however this immunity is waived when they are made aware of possible defamatory content and refuse or are unwilling to act on this by means of verification & removal of defamatory content meaning that person who can submit reasonable proof that a review contains defaming & damaging statements and TA are made aware of this, then TA are libel thereafter, – obviously the private message was intercepted and read because I received an email to say I had a private message from yourself and then when I logged on to collect the message I had been blocked from sending or receiving private messages, I emailed TA requesting a reason for blocking my access to my private message and the blocking of me from sending private messages and what happens next? well you guessed……… TA closed my acount – I think this will give all a flavour of the type of arrogant people who are managing TA on behalf of the owners, and they do not like to be questioned or answerable to anyone….. I will reiterate for owners out there who have been defamed and need to know when people publishing on an open forum or social networking site become liable for its content – they are not liable if they are unaware that any statement or content may contain defamatory or libelous content but become liable if they are informed of any possible defamatory content and refuse to act accordingly to limit damage to good name & character of person/persons being libeled or defamed, definition of Defamation & libel are clearly defined within legal systems. Proof of advicing TA of posssible libel or defamation should be retained in the event of any legal challenge. I am continuing to monitor my clients listing on TA but am not a member so do not have access to forums etc however the closing of my account and denial of access to private messages sent specifically to my account may form part of legal case against TA in the future. It is time TA accepted that some people do post fake reviews both good & bad and that some reviews on their sites are fake & defamatory and that helping owners by removing fake & defamatory reviews will only serve to lift the profile of TA as owners would then be promoting TA as a good site to post a review, how many of us have travelled and with all good intentions menat to post a good review about an establishment and then forgot but do we ever forget to complain? that is why a lot of the 1* reviews are written by people with an axe to grind and even when refunds are received or apology made the review is never removed by either owner or TA, we all mae mistakes and things can go wrong but surely people should be big enough to accept that if the wrong is put right that should be the end of it. I would suggest that after a period of one month TA should contact people who have posted rants & 1* reviews to see if they want the review to remain on the site and I wonder how many would respond, it would also sort out the reviewers who set up new email address to sign up, log on & post a one off review and never return because they probably never access that email address again, same could be done for many of the one off 5* reviews. Random emails to reviewers to check if they are still available at email address used to verify review and if not verified review should be removed whether 1* or 5* . Opinions pelase!!

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