Manage Your TripAdvisor Reviews

Learn how to collect, respond and report reviews on TripAdvisor.

Collect Reviews

6 Free Tools to Get More Reviews for Your Restaurant

6 Free Tools to Get More Reviews for Your Restaurant A key component of your online reputation is a steady collection of recent reviews. Here’s why that’s so important and how to encourage your diners to review you on TripAdvisor.

When it comes to managing your online reputation, one thing you should always be thinking about is how to generate a consistent stream of reviews about your restaurant.

That’s because an average potential diner often reads multiple reviews before making a choice of where to go to eat. We’ve found that diners spend twice as much time on TripAdvisor restaurant listings that have at least twenty reviews, so your first step should be to make sure your restaurant has a healthy volume of reviews.

Even when you’ve generated a large base of reviews, it’s important to keep collecting them. That’s because diners are much more interested in what your restaurant was like yesterday than what it was like six months ago.

Your goal? Strive for building a continuous pipeline of recent reviews. When a restaurant has over forty recent reviews — that is, reviews that are less than six months old — diners are three times as likely to engage with the listing in some way — by looking at the menu, clicking through to the website, or booking online.

Here are six free tools you can use to encourage diners to leave more reviews:

1. Collect Reviews Directly on Your Website

Use your restaurant’s own website to tell potential diners that you’re on TripAdvisor and encourage them to leave reviews.

If you’re tech-savvy (or know someone who is), you can add a personalized review collection widget which will allow your diners to write a TripAdvisor review without leaving your website. You can easily copy the personalized code from here and paste it onto your website.

You can read more about widgets and how to use them here.

At a minimum, mentioning on your website that you love restaurant reviews and including a link to your TripAdvisor listing should encourage diners to write reviews.

...

How Reviews Help Your Business

How Reviews Help Your Business Three reasons why reviews help build a successful hospitality business

Many hospitality businesses make the mistake of not actively collecting guest reviews on sites like TripAdvisor. They may have more pressing priorities or concerns about potential negative feedback. But research shows that reviews can provide strong value for hospitality businesses. Here are three reasons why guest reviews are vital to the success of your business:

1. Reviews impact bookings

A recent PhoCusWright study1 revealed the impact reviews have on travelers’ decision-making:

  • 83% of respondents indicated that reviews help them pick the right hotel
  • 80% read at least 6 – 12 reviews prior to booking
  • 53% won’t commit to a booking until they read reviews

Similar trends apply with travelers and attractions and restaurants:

  • 68% of respondents say reviews help them know about attractions
  • 64% read reviews to find better restaurants

These results demonstrate how reviews can impact sales for all hospitality businesses. If you’re not collecting fresh feedback, and sharing it with travelers, you may be losing business to competitors who do.

2. More reviews over time can lead to higher ratings

The average TripAdvisor review rating is 4.12 / 5.2

Academic research has demonstrated that ratings in reviews usually become higher over time. Why? Early guests often have negative experiences that surprise them, which is reflected in initial reviews. As a property gets more reviews, the average rating tends to increase. The researchers believe this is because additional reviews help set traveler expectations. Eventually, the ratings centralize around a more accurate average.3

Consistently collecting reviews yields a more accurate assessment of your property – which is important to both you and potential guests. With more reviews, the impact of extreme feedback can be limited. Plus, using negative reviews to improve can help ensure future ratings continue to rise.

3. Reviews help businesses evolve

Peter O’Sullivan, Owner of Harington’s Hotel in Bath, England, says:

“We might think we’re doing a brilliant job – but there’s no point in us thinking we’re doing a brilliant job if guests don’t think we are – so we really value that feedback…It gives us a way to improve the service and the quality of product that we offer…In the last three or four years, in particular, we’ve really focused more on it. We can see the level of repeat bookings we’re getting has increased as well."

In fact, reviews are a free way to assess how your business is performing. They highlight what’s going well and where improvements can be made. Trends in reviews also reveal insights into guest expectations and how to better meet them.

How to collect reviews

80% of surveyed travelers say they focus on the newest reviews.

So, how can your property collect more reviews? TripAdvisor has lots of free tools to help. Use Review Express to easily send optimized review request emails. It’s even better than using your own email account because it delivers an automatic reminder and a detailed dashboard that tracks the performance of each campaign.  

For even more tools, log in to the Management Center and visit the "Marketing Tools" tab at the top of the page. Here you will find widgets for your website and promotional tools like TripAdvisor stickers and "write a review" business cards. 


  • 1. Independent PhoCusWright study prepared for TripAdvisor, December 2013
  • 2. TripAdvisor internal data, January 2014
  • 3. “Online Customer Reviews of Hotels: As Participation Increases, Better Evaluation Is Obtained.” Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. March 2013.
Last Updated: February 1, 2017

8 Reasons to Ask All Your Guests to Write a Review

8 Reasons to Ask All Your Guests to Write a Review When guests check out, many properties ask them to write a TripAdvisor review so that travelers have the fresh feedback they want to see before making a booking decision. What differentiates properties that are doing a great job with this from everyone else? Who they ask.

Properties that only ask for feedback from guests who they know had a great experience are not doing themselves, or their future guests, any favors. Remember the evil queen in Snow White?  Every day she asked her magic mirror who was "the fairest in the land", and she was only satisfied when the answer was her.  In the end, her resistance to hearing the truth backfired.  Here are 8 other reasons why it’s in your best interest to ask all guests for reviews: 

1. Don't assume you know what people are going to say.

You may think that a guest had a fabulous experience at your property or vice-versa, but you never know what will come through in a review.  Give guests the opportunity to surprise you. 

2. Well-rounded reviews set realistic expectations.

Afraid that the couple who commented on your small room size might write that in the review?  If your rooms are indeed small, that’s not a bad thing.  Guests who are considering your property need to know what to expect, warts and all.  If they come in with realistic expectations, they’re more likely to come out pleased.  

3. When all reviews are stellar, it's almost not believable.

No one is perfect, and travelers know that as well as anyone else.  If 100% of your feedback is stellar, it can raise suspicions.  A mix of opinions adds credibility.

4. Travelers focus on the positive. 

When feedback is highly negative, they actually don’t pay much attention to it.  In a 2013 PhoCusWright survey, 66% of respondents said that they ignore extreme comments when reading reviews. 

5. Hold yourself accountable.

If you realized that someone was unhappy while at your property, did you really do nothing about it?  If you addressed the issue, that will likely be reflected in the review. And if the traveler is being unreasonable despite redress, that will come through loud and clear, as well. 

6. You can’t improve unless you know what all your guests think.

If there is a valid problem at your property, you need to know about it.  You can't get better if you don't know what all your guests think. And if the feedback is negative, write a management response and tell the world what you’re doing about it. 

7. Demonstrate confidence in your product. 

Inviting every guest to write a review demonstrates that you’re confident your property is providing the best experience possible.  If you’re not confident in that, all the more reason to get as much feedback as possible and figure out what you need to fix. 

8. Honesty is the best policy.

When it comes down to it, it's just not that honest to cherry-pick for positive feedback. TripAdvisor provides a platform for all travelers to share all their opinions, not just the ones that you like.  And soliciting feedback from everyone helps insure that you remain in compliance with our fraud policy. 

The bottom line is, successful hoteliers welcome all feedback and use it to their advantage, either to market their properties or make them better.  Ask every guest for a review, embrace all opinions, and your business will benefit in the end.   

Last Updated: September 22, 2014

The Complete Review Express Guide

The Complete Review Express Guide Learn more about the fast, free way to collect TripAdvisor reviews for your property.

Looking for an easy way to get more reviews for your business? Try Review Express – the review collection tool that TripAdvisor created based on feedback from hospitality businesses like yours. It’s free for all types of properties – no subscription required.

PhoCusWright data shows that more than half of travelers won’t commit to a booking until they read reviews1

With Review Express, you’ll create and send professional-looking emails that encourage guests to write reviews of your business. These emails can be customized with your property’s branding. There’s also a Review Express dashboard that provides in-depth analysis and tracking to help you fully optimize your campaigns.  On average, regular Review Express users see an uplift of 28% in the amount of TripAdvisor reviews for their property.2

Read on to learn how easy it is to start using Review Express for your business: 

Getting started

The first step to using Review Express is to gather your guests’ information. Start by collecting guest email addresses, permissions, and language preferences in a spreadsheet or other easily accessible location. Accuracy is important because it increases the likelihood that your Review Express emails will be delivered, opened and clicked – resulting in more reviews for your property.

Often, the best way to collect email addresses is to simply ask guests for the information before they leave. If you have an online booking function, consider incorporating “Email Address” and “Language Preference” fields into your online form. You can see more tips for collecting guest email addresses here. Before you start collecting guest data, be sure to review any applicable email laws in your country and make sure your plans comply with them.

No matter how you collect an email address, it’s important to get guests' permission to email them. You should explain exactly how you’ll use their addresses. If you’re sending a Review Express campaign, be sure to tell them that in advance. Properly setting guests’ expectations can help increase your open and review rates.

Set up a Review Express campaign

Setting up a Review Express campaign is simple. Go to tripadvisor.com/ReviewExpress and type in your property name to access the Review Express home page. This hub contains everything you need to start requesting reviews from your past guests. To send an email, click “Create Email" from the top menu.

Create Email 

The “Create Email” area is where you configure the email you’ll send to guests. The first time you use Review Express, it will default to the TripAdvisor template in your language. Just click the "Edit" button to customize each element of the template:

  • From address: This is the address that appears in the “Sender” field of your guest’s email. Be sure it’s something that’s easily recognizable.
  • Subject: This is the email subject line that will appear to your guest. Avoid using exclamation points and other punctuation to limit bounces (emails that aren’t able to be delivered).
  • Photo: There’s a spot for a photo next to the name and address of your property at the top of the email. You can use your property’s default image, upload a new one or choose not to include one.
  • ​Message: The email message includes the headline and body of the email. You can use the current message, edit it or add your own. Generally, shorter is better and it’s a good idea to thank guests for their business.

If you make changes to the TripAdvisor template, you’ll be prompted to save them as a new message. You can also choose to make your new message the default for that language. When you make a message the default, an asterisk will automatically be added to its name and it will appear first when you select that language in the “Create Email” area. You can always identify the default template by the asterisk in its title.

To have the most success, send targeted messages to guests in the languages they speak. Review Express is available in about 30 languages and there are TripAdvisor templates in each one. You can use these templates to contact guests who speak other languages, even if you do not.

Once your template is ready to go, click the “Continue to send” button to move on to the next step. 

Send Email

In this step, add the email addresses of the guests you’d like to reach. Have just a few addresses? Type them into the text box. If you have lots of emails to send, upload a spreadsheet of up to 1,000 email addresses using the file upload box. Review Express will accept .CSV or .XLS files up to 5MB in size. If you’re sending emails to guests in different languages, be sure to set up a new message and upload just those addresses for that campaign.

Don't worry, an email address will automatically be removed from a campaign if: The email recipient has reviewed your business in the last 30 (restaurants) to 90 days (attractions). A Review Express email was sent to the address in the last 30 days. The email recipients have unsubscribed from Review Express emails.

Keep in mind, TripAdvisor takes fraud and privacy very seriously. The addresses you submit must belong to people who have visited your property and you must have permission to email them. You cannot have a personal relationship with any of the recipients and they cannot be offered any incentives for reviews. Finally, avoid selectively emailing only the guests you believe will write positive reviews. Review Express emails should be consistently sent to all guests – properties are often happily surprised by the results. 

Once you’ve added your recipients, review and click the three notices at the bottom of the page. Then hit “Send.” Your emails will be sent within 24 hours. Reviews that you receive through Review Express will have a label indicating they were collected in partnership with your property.

Go automated

Sending Review Express emails can be even easier for accommodations that are working with a TripAdvisor-certified connectivity provider – like an internet booking engine or property management system. These properties can opt in to have Review Express emails sent automatically to guests when they check out. And it’s free! 

If your property is eligible, you can sign up for this feature on the Review Express home page. Just click the button in the “Automate” box. Remember, you’ll still need to use the “Send Email” method outlined above to request reviews from guests who book through another third party, like an Online Travel Agent.

Once you sign up, your connectivity provider will begin providing TripAdvisor with the data to automatically send guests your default Review Express email on your behalf. The email will be sent to guests within 72 hours of check out. You won’t have to do a thing! You can edit your Automated Review Express default emails and monitor the status of your connectivity provider in the "Settings" tab.

If your accommodation isn’t able to sign up for automated Review Express, it could be that your connectivity provider is not certified. Please contact your provider to get connected. To learn more about automated Review Express, click here.

Add private surveys

In addition to using Review Express to collect public feedback that shows up on your TripAdvisor page, accommodations can also get private feedback as well. With the Review Express + private surveys add-on, each Review Express campaign you send also includes a short, customizable guest satisfaction survey.

If travelers choose to complete the optional survey, that feedback is just for you and your hotel or B&Bs’ staff. Your survey responses remain confidential and don’t show up on your TripAdvisor page or influence your TripAdvisor rating or ranking.

To add your private survey, go to the Create Survey tab. You’ll see a list of pre-translated questions you can ask your guests. Click on a question you want and drag it to your survey – if you change your mind, you can reorder or remove questions as well.

Your private survey responses will show up in your Review Express Dashboard. To learn more, check out Understanding your private survey responses.

Review Express Dashboard

Once you’ve started sending campaigns, the Dashboard tracks the success of each one. To access it, click “Dashboard” from the top menu within Review Express.

First, you’ll see the key statistics from all the campaigns sent including Total Campaigns, Total Emails Sent, Total Opens, Total Clicks and Total Reviews. The Dashboard tracks the performance of all Review Express campaigns at the property level, no matter who sends them. You can use these numbers to evaluate your Review Express success over time.

Another key section of the dashboard is recent reviews. Titles and ratings of your most recent reviews are listed. If you don’t have recent reviews, the dashboard will provide some tips to try for future campaigns.

Finally, the “Recent email campaigns” report has regularly updated stats for each campaign sent by your property. It tracks the number of emails sent, opened and clicked as well as how many were bounced or suppressed. Suppression is used to prevent unnecessary emails to your guests. An email address will be automatically removed from a campaign if: 

  • The email recipient has reviewed your business in the last 30 (restaurants) to 90 days (attractions).
  • A Review Express email was sent to the address in the last 30 days.
  • The email recipients have unsubscribed from Review Express emails.

For more tips on the dashboard, including how to use it to drive your Review Express success, check out this tip sheet.  

Resources

Ready to get started with Review Express? Visit tripadvisor.com/ReviewExpress today. You’ll be able to set up and send your first campaign in fifteen minutes. If you’re looking for more help, including tips for sending Review Express campaigns, frequently asked questions and more information on why reviews matter, check out these resources.

Top Review Express Tips

  1. Set guests’ expectations: Tell them you’ll be sending a Review Express email to collect their feedback.
  2. Send emails regularly: Ask guests for feedback within a few days of check out, when the experience is still fresh.
  3. Choose your “from” address wisely: Be sure it includes the name of the property or a key employee that is recognizable.

 

Sources: 1. Independent PhoCusWright study prepared for TripAdvisor, December 2013 2. TripAdvisor site data, January 2014

Last Updated: March 13, 2017

Request a Free TripAdvisor Sticker

Request a Free TripAdvisor Sticker

Looking for a great way to show that you value guest feedback and encourage new reviews, while increasing walk-in traffic? Get a free TripAdvisor sticker for your front door, window or high-traffic area of your hotel, restaurant or attraction today by using our sticker request tool: www.tripadvisor.com/StickerRequest.

Show off your TripAdvisor Sticker

  • 67% of travelers check TripAdvisor a few times a month1
  • 75% of travelers prefer businesses with a TripAdvisor endorsement2
  • 89% of global travelers say reviews are influential when choosing where to book3

Please allow up to 6 weeks for the sticker to arrive by mail. Once you get it – we’d love to see it! Tweet a photo to @TripAdvisorB2B using the hashtag #OnTripAdvisor.


  • 1. Source: PhoCusWright study commissioned by TripAdvisor, December 2013
  • 2. Source: TripAdvisor member survey, October 2012
  • 3. Source: TripBarometer April 2014: Global Edition
Last Updated: March 7, 2015

About TripAdvisor Review Express & Email Permissions

About TripAdvisor Review Express & Email Permissions Answers to frequently asked questions about Review Express and email permissions. Review Express is a free and easy way to collect feedback from guests. It allows you to send professional-looking review reminder emails to guests, after their stay. Let’s cover some frequently asked questions regarding email permissions and TripAdvisor Review Express. How do email permissions work? Prior to uploading guests’ email addresses to Review Express, you must have permission to pass their details to TripAdvisor to facilitate review collection — typically this is included in a data collection statement. You must also maintain a record of their consent. What happens if a guest questions the email? In accordance with data privacy laws, if a guest questions the review request email from TripAdvisor, we’ll refer them back to you to confirm their consent. You’ll need to be able to show that the guests consented to receive communications from TripAdvisor. Does TripAdvisor use my guests’ email addresses for other purposes?...

Respond to Travelers

6 Best Practices When Responding to Restaurant Reviews

6 Best Practices When Responding to Restaurant Reviews 85% of TripAdvisor users are more likely to dine at a restaurant that responds to reviews. Here are some tips on how to craft the best Management Response.

It's important to think about reviews as both real-time feedback about your business and as a critical marketing tool. Potential diners scroll through your reviews to determine what your restaurant experience is like — essentially an online version of word-of-mouth. An average of 90% of respondents said that the reviews on TripAdvisor matched their dining experience in a recent survey.

Responding Makes a Difference

Regardless of the positive or negative nature of a review, your response makes a difference.

In a recent survey, we found that up to 94% of respondents in some markets indicated that they have read a Management Response to a TripAdvisor review, with the majority noting that they found it helpful and that it encouraged them to try a restaurant, despite a bad review. And 65% of users agree that a thoughtful Management Response to a bad review improves their impression of the restaurant.

Think about it this way. If a diner sent back a dish because it wasn’t up to standards, you would go out of your way to improve their experience at your restaurant so that you can turn around the situation and wow the customer. That’s when your hospitality matters — when you go out of your way to make things right, you’re showing them how deeply you care about their experience.

You have that same power with a Management Response to an online review. Whether the review cites positive or negative feedback, it’s your chance to create that same moment of hospitality and show them you care about their experience. Here are six things to keep in mind as you respond to reviews:

How to Respond to Reviews

Start With a Thank You

Always thank your guests for coming in and trying out your restaurant, even if they’re regulars. Showing your gratitude for coming in underlines the hospitality you offer in-person. It’s the equivalent of your host thanking them on their way out the door.

It doesn’t take much — a concise response will do. Here’s a great example from the Tip Tap Room in Boston, responding to a 5-bubble review from a traveler:

“So glad to hear you enjoyed your dinner here, Treesha! Thanks for checking us out and taking the time to share. Hope to see you again if you're ever back in town!”

If the review is less positive, thank them instead for coming in and for taking the time to share feedback. Here’s a second example from the Tip Tap Room, responding to a 3-bubble review that contained a noise complaint:

Thanks for sharing! We always appreciate honest feedback, and it does indeed get pretty lively in here. Glad to hear you enjoy[ed] the drinks!”

Show Diners You’re Listening

Most of the time, when someone posts a review to TripAdvisor, they want to be heard — so make sure that you’re listening. Acknowledging and echoing the feedback you’ve received in your response — positive or negative — shows that you care about what people are saying and that you’ve actually heard what they wanted to share.

Take this example from Papi Henri in Paris, responding to a 5-bubble review thanking the restaurant for explaining the menu to their party, who didn’t speak French:

“Many thanks for your post. It was a pleasure to translate our daily menu to you (hope my accent was not to difficult to understand :). We really hope to see you next time you are around. We wish you the best!”

...

How to Add Management Responses to TripAdvisor Traveler Reviews

How to Add Management Responses to TripAdvisor Traveler Reviews

Why is it important to write Management Responses?

Responding to reviews clearly demonstrates – to both former and prospective guests – that you are interested in feedback, and that you take customer service seriously.

Which reviews should I respond to?

Each property should determine its own strategy for responding to reviews. Some businesses respond to every review, while others focus primarily on critical ones.

It’s generally a good idea to respond to reviews that are negative, as well as those where you can correct a factual misstatement or write about an action you’ve taken to correct problems addressed in the review. Another best practice is to always have at least one Management Response amongst the ten most recent reviews you’ve received. That will help ensure travelers don’t have to dig too far into your property’s review history to see a response from you.

How will I know if I’ve received a new review?

Sign up to receive an email notification every time a new review is published for your property. This will help you monitor reviews as they come in, and decide which ones you want to respond to. To sign up for alerts, select the drop-down next to your username in the top right corner of the TripAdvisor homepage, then scroll down to "Subscriptions." Under the "Emails for Owners" tab, next to "Reviews Questions" make sure the “Subscribed” bubble is selected.

Where do I go on TripAdvisor to respond?

In order to reply to a review, you need to be registered with our free Management Center. Claim your property at www.tripadvisor.com/Owners

Once you are registered and verified, access the Management Center by clicking on “Your Business” in the top-right corner of any page and follow the steps below. If you receive review email notification emails, you can also click on the "Respond to Reviews" link from the email, then:

  1. Click on the “Reviews" tab in the top menu and select "Respond to Reviews."
  2. Choose the review you would like to respond to by clicking on the review in the left-hand sidebar. Reviews can be filtered by date, title, bubble rating, language and response status.
  3. Write (or paste) the response into the box provided. There is no character limit but be concise — nobody wants to read an essay!
  4. Click submit.

Before drafting your response, read our Management Response guidelines. In order to be published, your response will need to meet these guidelines.

How do I respond to a positive review?

Thank the reviewer for taking the time to share their experience. Avoid using the same standard reply for every response, as that can come across as repetitive and insincere. Refer to the reviewers’ positive comments about your business to both personalize your response and reiterate the compliment to your potential visitors.

How should I respond to a negative review?

Respond quickly

A prompt response shows prospective guests that you take customer service seriously and adds your perspective on the situation to the original review. This allows future guests to hear your side of the story as soon as possible.

Be courteous and professional

When replying, remember that your Management Response will be seen not just by the reviewer, but also by potential guests who are considering booking or visiting your restaurant or attraction. Therefore, if you don’t agree with the reviewer, or feel they are being unfair, relay your side of the story in a polite and unemotional way. The last thing you want to do is turn off potential visitors with an aggressive or defensive Management Response.

Thank the reviewer

Express your appreciation for the traveler’s business and for writing a review. Demonstrate that all feedback is important to you, be it good or bad. Also, if possible, provide an empathetic apology for any shortfalls.

Address the specific issues

If the review contains a specific complaint, explain what you have done to fix the issue so potential guests are reassured that the problem is resolved.

Highlight the positives

Highlight any positive comments the reviewer has made. You can even take the opportunity to mention related services or planned upgrades that you would like to share with potential visitors.

Need more help responding to negative reviews? Read on here

Can I edit my Management Response?

Currently it is not possible to edit your response. If you want to change something, the best thing to do is to delete your original response and resubmit the edited version.

How long before my Management Response is posted?

Once you click submit, the status under the “Response” column will become “Pending.” When the response is approved, the status will change to “Response Published.” The majority of Management Responses will be reviewed and posted within a few business days. If there is a question of whether your response meets all of our guidelines, it will take longer to process. If your response is not approved, the status will become “Response Rejected”. Please review the Management Response Guidelines and submit a new Management Response for that review.

Tips

  • You can open the review you are responding to by clicking on the title of the review on the “Write a Management Response” page. This allows you to have the review fresh in your mind and respond to each of the specific points made.
  • You may want to write your response in a word processor first so you can spell check and edit it until you are pleased with the final product. Then, cut and paste it into the Management Response form.
  • Keep in mind that Management Responses can be found by search engines. If something negative comes up in a review, avoid repeating it in your response.
  • If you need more information from a guest, or would like to encourage them to contact you, it is permissible to include your email address in your response. Just keep in mind that your response is publicly visible to all TripAdvisor users.
  • Your username will appear on your Management Response unless you have put your real name in your profile. If you don’t want your real name to appear, delete it from your profile before posting your response. (Note: you can only change your display name once and it will not change on responses previously posted.)
  • If you’ve reported a review, it’s still a good idea to write a Management Response to it. That allows you to share your side of the story with potential guests while your report is being evaluated. If the review is removed, your Management Response will also be deleted.
Last Updated: September 8, 2014

3 Things You Can Do After a Bad Review

3 Things You Can Do After a Bad Review How to tackle bad reviews and come back stronger than ever

Hospitality providers on TripAdvisor are passionate about their businesses and customers. So, a bad review can often be discouraging. But even the highest rated properties on TripAdvisor get bad reviews now and then. Brian Payea, Head of TripAdvisor Industry Relations, says, “What makes those properties great is how they incorporate the feedback to make the experience for the next guest even better.”

Here are three steps you can take after a bad review has come in: 

1. Review what’s happened.

You’ve just finished reading a bad review. Take a deep breath. If needed, walk away for five minutes. Then look at the review impersonally with your team. What was the core problem that your guest experienced? Is this the first time you’ve seen this feedback, or is a trend developing? Getting the background can help you identify the root cause of any problem.

2. Incorporate the feedback.

Once you have some background, strategize with your staff on specific improvements that need to be made. Come up with an action plan for what your property will do and which team member will take the lead. If the issue is something you can’t fix, consider how to better-set expectations for guests, perhaps with updates to your website. Either way, be sure to monitor future reviews to make sure the same problems don’t come up again.

3. Complete a Management Response.

Write Management Responses to bad reviews as soon as possible. Your response explains the review to other potential guests on your property page. Be sure to share details of the action plan you’ve developed in your response. And don’t underestimate the power of a sincere apology. The most important thing your response should do is to answer unknown questions for future guests that the original review implied.

If necessary, submit a concern.

There are three circumstances where a review may be removed from your listing:

If the review doesn’t meet one of the circumstances above, it won’t be removed. Also, TripAdvisor won’t arbitrate or referee factual disputes between parties. Click here for more information.

To submit a concern about a review, go to the “Reviews” tab in the Management Center. Click the link under “Report a Review” and complete the form on the following page. This process can take up to two business days, and there is no guarantee that the review will be removed. That’s why it’s important to submit a Management Response with your perspective as quickly as possible for other potential guests to read.    

Last Updated: July 29, 2014

Are you writing what you mean?

Are you writing what you mean? Tips for establishing a Management Response style that makes a good impression on both former and prospective guests.

Your voice plays a major role in how people perceive your message. Research shows it can be twice as impactful as the actual content of what you say. When we write there’s no face-to-face interaction, so word choice, sentence structure and tone convey our voice – and meaning – to readers.

Consider these statements that each express an apology for a problem and a resolution:

  1. “Sorry you complained about the noise. It wasn’t a big deal. You were lucky we were able to get you a different room at all.”
  2. “So sorry about the noise in your first room. We were happy to help you into a second one that worked for the rest of your stay!”
  3. “Sincerest apologies for the noise issue you encountered during your recent stay at our hotel. We were quite pleased to furnish the second accommodation that you enjoyed for the duration of your visit.” 

Word choice, sentence structure and tone combine to provide a very different sentiment for each: accusatory (1), friendly (2), and formal (3).

Decide what your voice will be

So, how does all of this apply to Management Responses? A Management Response is your chance to show travelers you care about feedback. Potential guests read reviews and responses to judge if they’d like to stay at your property. A confident, friendly Management Response voice can help you win new business, but an abrasive response (or a templated one) may push customers away.

It’s important to decide what kind of management response voice will attract travelers to your property. Reading responses from other businesses on TripAdvisor is a good place to start. Find responses that feel genuine and effective. Then identify the elements they share and use them to shape your property’s own style.

Infusing a brand voice into your responses

A common question from hospitality business owners is how to write like a person but stay consistent with a business brand. Try adapting some of the language from your website and marketing materials for your responses. Or include some of the brand’s key values, so travelers can get a sense of what the brand stands for.

Set simple guidelines

The key to building a voice is consistency. Once you’ve established the voice you’d like to use, set some simple guidelines to rely on when writing. Think about the types of words, length of sentences and tone you’d like to incorporate in responses to positive and negative reviews. Your guidelines should be flexible enough to allow for a personal response that allows your brand voice come to life.

Now that you’ve established your Management Response voice, read on for tips to optimize it.

Last Updated: December 22, 2014

The One Thing Your Management Response Must Do

The One Thing Your Management Response Must Do A review on your property has come in. You’ve read it, shared the feedback with your team and implemented ways to address any issues. You sit down to write your Management Response, but you don’t know where to start.

Sometimes there’s just too much to say, or maybe you’re struggling to write anything at all. In times like these, it helps to remember that there’s really just one thing your Management Response must do:

Address the unknown

88% of users say reviews have an impact on their accommodation choices1, they often use reviews to narrow their choices. When reviews surface an issue, it can open a line of questions in travelers’ minds. The unknown answers can weigh heavily on their planning and cause them to lose confidence in your property.

The good news is that you have an easy way to remedy this uncertainty – by writing a Management Response. There’s no better place to address the unknown and rebuild traveler confidence.

Write a confidence-building response

Reply to the original review with a Management Response. Below are four questions to help you craft a confidence-building response:

  • Who am I writing this for? We often see responses directed toward the reviewer and her specific concerns. Keep in mind that your real audience is both the reviewer and the wider TripAdvisor population of 455 million monthly visitors. Don’t forget to consider how the specific details in the review apply to the average traveler, what their concerns might be after reading it and the additional questions that this review might raise
  • Am I addressing their core concerns? Respond to the concerns in the original review in a way that appeals to the larger group and answers as many of their questions as possible. Concentrate on the ones that have the biggest impact for future guests. If you’ve already remedied the problem, or have a plan in place to address it, be sure to include that in your response.
     
  • Am I showing that we care? Every traveler has different preferences but they all want to know that you care. When potential guests read reviews, they are putting themselves in the shoes of the writer. If you didn’t quite deliver during the original guests’ stay, talk about the specific changes you’re making so you’ll do even better in the future. Readers will see your commitment to service and their confidence will build.
  • Are we truly sorry? A well-placed, heartfelt apology is never wrong and shows empathy to past and future guests. The key is to really mean it. There’s nothing worse than the “We’re sorry, but…” That “but” essentially negates everything that comes before it and casts doubt on your entire response.

>> Tip: Travelers are looking for patterns. If the same issue keeps coming up in multiple reviews, it’s more important than ever to tell your full customer service and problem-solving story.

You have the power

Property representatives often tell us that their Management Responses help them win business. Travelers know that it’s possible to have an off day – properties cannot be perfect all of the time. They look to your response to see how you rise after falling, and confirm that this isn’t a broader issue. Show them your empathy, your commitment to service and what you can offer them!

Start addressing the unknown - write a Management Response today! Log in to the Management Center and under the "Reviews" menu at the top, select "Respond to Reviews" to get started.


  • 1. TripBarometer 2015
Last Updated: December 26, 2017

Insights from a Questions & Answers early adopter

Insights from a Questions & Answers early adopter The Venetian in Las Vegas has been an early adopter of the new Questions & Answers functionality on TripAdvisor. Hear their thoughts on the value of engaging with travelers through this new channel.

We spoke with The Venetian’s Sandra Wild, Executive Director of Front Office; Kristal Ramos, Reputations Manager – Guest Relations; and Beverly Borromeo, Hotel Manager – Guest Relations about their experiences with Questions & Answers.

Q: Where does Questions & Answers fit into your overall TripAdvisor strategy?

A: We’re on TripAdvisor anyway monitoring and making sure all reviews are responded to. We also receive alerts when we have a new question and answering them is fairly simple. Questions & Answers is a means in which we are able to connect with the guests on a different level – it’s more intimate.

Q: Are the questions what you expected them to be? Any surprising or challenging ones?

A: They’re all very good questions. A lot of them lead us to believe the guest is going to be staying with us very soon. So this is a great way to connect with the guest before they’re here and extend the same level of service to them that we have on property.

Q: How do you set the tone for your answers?

A: There’s a fine balance between responding in a way that’s in line with our reputation as a luxury resort and the general tone on social media that tends to be more relaxed. So we try to tread that fine line and don’t lean toward one or the other. The tone of the question often helps us format our answers. We also try to keep things as simple as possible while still being true to who we are as a luxury property.

Q: What do you do when the answer to a question is “no”?

A: In this case, we often ask the traveler to contact our Guest Relations Department directly. There are “no’s” to certain questions, but we don’t really just say no without trying to offer an alternate solution.

Q: Do you try to respond in a certain amount of time?

A: We typically like to respond within a maximum of 24 hours.

Q: Do you think Questions & Answers has helped guests get the information they need before booking at The Venetian?

A: Yes, absolutely, because we’ve had guests ask about amenities. We know that when guests stay with us, or any resort on the Las Vegas strip, or in the world for that matter, amenities are important. So, this gives us the ability to really outline what we offer in our suites, the different suites we have, as well as restaurant and shopping options on property.


Many thanks to The Venetian for sharing these insights! You can view The Venetian’s property page – and its Questions & Answers section – hereYou can also learn more about Questions & Answers.

Last Updated: September 17, 2014

Report Issues or Fraud

3 Things You Can Do After a Bad Review

3 Things You Can Do After a Bad Review How to tackle bad reviews and come back stronger than ever

Hospitality providers on TripAdvisor are passionate about their businesses and customers. So, a bad review can often be discouraging. But even the highest rated properties on TripAdvisor get bad reviews now and then. Brian Payea, Head of TripAdvisor Industry Relations, says, “What makes those properties great is how they incorporate the feedback to make the experience for the next guest even better.”

Here are three steps you can take after a bad review has come in: 

1. Review what’s happened.

You’ve just finished reading a bad review. Take a deep breath. If needed, walk away for five minutes. Then look at the review impersonally with your team. What was the core problem that your guest experienced? Is this the first time you’ve seen this feedback, or is a trend developing? Getting the background can help you identify the root cause of any problem.

2. Incorporate the feedback.

Once you have some background, strategize with your staff on specific improvements that need to be made. Come up with an action plan for what your property will do and which team member will take the lead. If the issue is something you can’t fix, consider how to better-set expectations for guests, perhaps with updates to your website. Either way, be sure to monitor future reviews to make sure the same problems don’t come up again.

3. Complete a Management Response.

Write Management Responses to bad reviews as soon as possible. Your response explains the review to other potential guests on your property page. Be sure to share details of the action plan you’ve developed in your response. And don’t underestimate the power of a sincere apology. The most important thing your response should do is to answer unknown questions for future guests that the original review implied.

If necessary, submit a concern.

There are three circumstances where a review may be removed from your listing:

If the review doesn’t meet one of the circumstances above, it won’t be removed. Also, TripAdvisor won’t arbitrate or referee factual disputes between parties. Click here for more information.

To submit a concern about a review, go to the “Reviews” tab in the Management Center. Click the link under “Report a Review” and complete the form on the following page. This process can take up to two business days, and there is no guarantee that the review will be removed. That’s why it’s important to submit a Management Response with your perspective as quickly as possible for other potential guests to read.    

Last Updated: July 29, 2014

Taking a Stand Against Optimization Fraud

Taking a Stand Against Optimization Fraud “Optimization” or "Organized Boosting" fraud occurs when businesses pay others to post fake reviews.

Optimization companies contact business owners and falsely promise that they can manipulate TripAdvisor rankings – through the submission of positive reviews or the removal of negatives ones – in exchange for money. Some go so far as to falsely claim to have an official relationship with TripAdvisor.

These optimization practices are strictly against TripAdvisor policies, are unethical and are often illegal. Also, many businesses report that once they signed up for the optimization company’s services, they’ve been subjected to blackmail, extortion and financial fraud when they try to cancel.

In a recent letter to hospitality businesses, TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer writes, “To be clear, no optimization company is or will ever be affiliated with TripAdvisor, and the practice of submitting any content that is not genuine and from travelers goes against everything we stand for as a company.” 

How TripAdvisor fights optimization fraud 

TripAdvisor has a zero-tolerance fraud policy. We believe optimization companies pose a risk to millions of legitimate, honest hospitality businesses around the world. We will take the strongest action possible against these firms, as well as any property attempting to engage with these companies to distort content available on TripAdvisor.

Our investigations team uses advanced technology and techniques similar to those used in the financial industries to track optimization companies across the globe. In 2015 alone, we’ve identified, investigated and shut down more than 30 optimization sites, and will continue to pursue these companies until they are no longer a risk to our community.

Here are four tactics we're using to stamp out optimization companies and others who commit fraud:

1. Analyze Incoming Reviews: TripAdvisor employs a large, international team dedicated to preventing fraud. Fraud detection systems, including sophisticated filtering and behavior modeling tools, help the team identify widespread attempts to manipulate the system. All reviews are analyzed and suspicious patterns that emerge are flagged for additional investigation.

2. Listen to the Community: Our business partners are a key resource when it comes to stamping out fraud. We want your help! If a company has offered to boost your ranking, provide content for your listing or perform any other activity that violates TripAdvisor policies, we want to hear from you. Any information you provide can assist in our investigations. All reports made will be investigated by our Content Integrity team and kept confidential. To report an optimization company, log in to the Management Center. Under the “Manage Your Reviews” menu, select “Report Organized Boosting.” Please provide as much detail in the form as possible to help the investigation team.

3. Identify Unscrupulous Businesses: The TripAdvisor fraud investigation team also regularly sets up dummy optimization firms and accounts on known optimization-hiring sites where users are paid to write reviews. The goal is to identify and penalize property owners who try to purchase these fraudulent services.

4. Take Action: When a business engages in fraudulent activity, TripAdvisor not only removes the fraudulent reviews but also imposes a variety of penalties, including dropping the offending business in the popularity ranking and adding a notification to the business’ profile (see right). TripAdvisor may also pursue legal action. 

What you can do to help

We are tireless in our efforts to fight fraud because we know that, like us, most hospitality businesses want a fair system that allows every business to compete fairly. If an optimization company has contacted your business, please report them to our Content Integrity team in the Management Center by selecting “Report a Review” under the “Reviews” menu at the top of the page. Then, under "Tell us what the issue is" select "Report Fraud." Choose "Report organized boosting" from the next section, and finally fill out the remaining questions giving as much detail as possible about the issue. 

Last Updated: November 16, 2015

The TripAdvisor Incentives Policy: Why Rewarding Traveler Reviews Is Against The Rules

The TripAdvisor Incentives Policy: Why Rewarding Traveler Reviews Is Against The Rules If you have a business listed on TripAdvisor, it is important to understand our incentives policy, including how we define incentives, the consequences we impose against businesses that use them, and appropriate ways to encourage guests to write reviews.

What are incentives?

Incentives are any rewards or preferential treatment a property offers to guests in exchange for writing reviews of that business. Examples include:

  • Drawings or raffles: Guests are told they will be entered into a drawing or lottery after they have posted a review on TripAdvisor.
  • Discounts: Guests are offered reduced rates on current or future stays in return for writing a review.
  • Special treatment: Guests are promised upgrades, coupons, free amenities, etc. in exchange for posting a review.

Why are incentives not okay?

TripAdvisor encourages businesses to ask their guests to write reviews. Recent reviews count more in your popularity ranking and satisfy the traveler’s desire to see fresh feedback before they make a booking decision. However, we prohibit properties from offering incentives because they can hinder the validity and accuracy of reviews. If travelers have been promised a reward in return for a review of a specific property, they are more likely to write a review that doesn’t reflect their true experience.

How does TripAdvisor know when a review was incentivized?

  • Our TripAdvisor community: Our loyal travelers or businesses listed on our site often spot incentives and contact us.
  • Our team: We have a team solely dedicated to spotting fraudulent reviews. If we find reviews to be suspicious, we will flag that property and monitor it. We also monitor social and mainstream media for mentions of incentives or rewards programs.
  • Our technology: Reviews are screened with our site tools that are frequently updated.

What happens to owners who offer incentives for reviews?

Penalties will be given to properties that offer incentives to their guests for writing reviews of their businesses. In all cases, reviews in question will be removed and properties will no longer be eligible for TripAdvisor awards. Further penalties are given on a case-by-case basis and range from a warning to a red badge added to your property listing. The red badge warns prospective guests that a property has not adhered to TripAdvisor policy. It also significantly impacts the property’s popularity ranking. 

Can TripAdvisor offer incentives for reviews?

Occasionally, TripAdvisor runs promotions in which reviewers are rewarded for submitting eligible content in a given time period, language or country; or in connection with using new TripAdvisor products or services. These programs have never been, and will never be, focused on driving reviews of a specific property or business. 

To ensure users are submitting content that's true to their actual experiences, feedback submitted through these promotions is eligible regardless of whether it's positive, neutral or negative. It is also subject to the same traveler review guidelines, filters and processes as every other review and opinion submitted to TripAdvisor. 

What are acceptable ways to ask guests for reviews?

There are many ways to encourage your guests to write reviews without offering incentives. One of the easiest ways is to just ask! We’ve found that giving your guests a small reminder can make all the difference. Log in to the TripAdvisor Management Center for many marketing tools that you can use to remind your guests that you value their feedback on their recent stay.


What types of tools are available?

Widgets

Add the “write-a-review” widget to your website or Facebook page. This widget allows your guests to write a review about their stay without having to go to your TripAdvisor property page. For more information on our different kinds of widgets, see the “Displaying your TripAdvisor rating and latest reviews on your site” guide.

Reminder flyers and reminder cards

You can print downloadable flyers to display at your check out desk or order business cards to hand out to your guests at check out. Both are great reminders to guests while they are still on your property.

Review Express

Review Express allows you to create and send free professional-looking emails to encourage your guests to write reviews. There’s even a dashboard that provides an in-depth analysis and tracking to optimize your campaigns. To learn more about how you can use Review Express to get valuable traveler reviews as well as confidential feedback, head to the Review Express Resource Center.

Have more questions?

Contact TripAdvisor Customer Support via the “Email us” link on the Management Center homepage. It’s better to contact us before (rather than after) you offer incentives for reviews.

Last Updated: January 17, 2018

Reporting Potential Blackmail to TripAdvisor: Report Threats Immediately

Reporting Potential Blackmail to TripAdvisor: Report Threats Immediately We hear from owners that potential "blackmail" — when a guest threatens to write a negative review unless a demand for a refund, upgrade, or other request is met — is an occasional concern. We have a way for you to proactively report these threats before a corresponding review is potentially submitted.

Why is this important?

We take allegations of blackmail or threatening behavior by guests against property owners very seriously. This activity is strictly against our guidelines and may also be illegal in many locations. Immediate reporting of blackmail threats can supplement our investigative procedure and help us keep blackmail reviews from ever reaching the site.

How do I report potential blackmail reviews?

Follow this process to report blackmail from the Management Center:

  1. First, log into your TripAdvisor Management Center.
  2. In the top menu under "Reviews," click "Report a Review."
  3. In the "Please tell us what the issue is" section, select "Report fraud."
  4. "What do you want to do?" menu, select "Report blackmail threat."
  5. If the review hasn't been posted, choose "No." (Read on for what to do if the review has already been posted).
  6. Then, if this is your first report of this incident, choose "No."
  7. At this point, you’ll need to provide some additional information, including the month and year of stay as well as the email address and/or the name of the potential reviewer. Please also describe the event at issue in the free form space provided. Try to provide as many details as possible — this information will help us identify the review if it’s submitted at a later date.

When should I report a case of blackmail?

Immediately — it’s important to submit this report via the Management Center as soon as possible after the incident occurs, ideally the same day.

While most guests do not follow through with such threats, it’s important to submit your report as soon as possible to ensure that it is on record before a potential blackmail review is submitted.

What should I do if a suspected blackmail review has already been posted?

It’s important to note that our owner support form only works for reviews that have not yet been submitted. It will also only be effective if the information in the review matches what you’ve included in your blackmail report.

You can follow the current process if a review is posted that you believe is blackmail-related:

  1. In your Management Center, under the "Reviews" menu at the top, select "Report a Review."
  2. Select "Review Concerns" as the issue.
  3. Select"Review is suspicious" as the problem.
  4. For reason, select "I want to report something else."
  5. Then, choose the review in question from the drop down menu.
  6. In the space provided, you can present the facts or documents that show the review is a result of blackmail.

What happens after my blackmail report is submitted?

If a low-rated review matching the details of your report is submitted on your business, our support team will be alerted. We handle each blackmail report on a case-by-case basis, and review the direct evidence and peripheral information available to us before making a decision. You may be contacted for additional information that proves blackmail was involved. We recommend retaining any relevant documentation that might be useful in this process. 

Whether the review is submitted before or after you notify us of the blackmail threat, we cannot guarantee that it will be removed.

Please note: Property managers who abuse this new tool will be penalized.

What other actions can I take?

While the review is being investigated, we recommend you post a Management Response so other travelers can read what you have to say. Check out our tips on how to write a Management Response. It’s also a good idea to regularly review our most up to date Management Response Guidelines.

Best practices for submitting potential blackmail reports to TripAdvisor:

Instruct employees to share any guest blackmail threats immediately.

Submit a potential blackmail review report as soon as possible.

Include as many details as you can about the incident.

Last Updated: January 17, 2018

About TripAdvisor Reviews

What Does TripAdvisor Do About Unfair Reviews?

What Does TripAdvisor Do About Unfair Reviews? Business owners and their customers often ask what we do about unfair or malicious reviews. Here we explain our approach...

When reviews are unbiased and honest, they are incredibly useful. For customers, they shine a light on businesses that offer great experiences, service and value; for owners, they help attract new customers to the business and provide valuable feedback on what it does well and where it can improve.

Unfair or malicious reviews have the opposite effect — they are misleading to potential customers and can do unwarranted damage to the reputation of a business.

Broadly speaking, there are two different scenarios in which an unfair review can occur:

  • Scenario #1: A review is submitted by someone who is either biased (you can learn more about how we determine bias here) or did not have a personal experience with the business they are reviewing.  We call these  Fake Reviews.
  • Scenario #2: A review is submitted by someone who did have a personal experience with the business (and is not biased by having a connection with the business), but what their review describes is disputed by the business.  We call these  Contested Reviews.

This distinction is an important one because it guides the way we handle review disputes. Review disputes occur when a business reports a review that they believe to be breach of our guidelines. Once a business reports a review, we then determine whether it is alleged to be a Fake Review or a Contested Review, and take action from there.

So how does TripAdvisor prevent Fake Reviews from being posted to the site?

Fake Reviews have no place on TripAdvisor. We work extremely hard to block them from being posted to the site.

First, we have a set of posting guidelines that all reviews must adhere to. These guidelines are designed to ensure reviews are as relevant and useful as possible. You can read more about our review guidelines here.

To enforce these guidelines, we use a combination of smart technology and a dedicated team of expert moderators.

The technology kicks in every time someone submits a review on TripAdvisor. Before the review is posted to the site, it has to go through hundreds of automatic checks which evaluate every aspect of that review. We call these checks our tracking system.

The system will either allow a review to be posted, block a review from being posted, or will send it to our moderation team for human analysis if it suspects the review may be fake.

Even after a review is posted, anyone can still use our reporting tools to request an investigation by our moderation team if they are concerned a review does not meet our guidelines. While the volume of requests we receive to investigate a review is low — less than 1% of reviews are ever reported to us — these reports are incredibly useful and help us enforce the guidelines consistently for all. Business owners can report reviews via the Management Center (which they can access for free), while travelers can report reviews simply by clicking on the flag icon displayed beneath each review.

To read more about the different types of fake reviews and how we catch them, go here.

To read more about how our tracking system works, go here.

How does TripAdvisor handle Contested Reviews?

While more than 99% of TripAdvisor reviews are uncontested, we know that when a review dispute does occur, it can be a serious matter for those involved. Deciding whether a Contested Review represents fair commentary about a business is a very important task, and one we try to handle as sensitively and as fairly as possible.

This is because a customer’s opinion is subjective — whether service is fast or slow, whether food is tasty or bland, whether the cost offers great value for money or is expensive — all of these things depend on a customer’s expectations.

We strongly believe that every traveler has a right to express their opinion, good or bad, based on their own expectations of what the experience should deliver.

We also know that if you are a business owner or member of staff it can be incredibly frustrating when you feel a criticism you’ve received in a review is unfair.

Any business can contest a review by using our reporting tools. Contested Reviews are then assessed by our moderation team, who determine if the review breaches our guidelines and therefore whether it should be removed or not.

If our moderation team concludes that a review meets our guidelines, it will remain posted. In these circumstances, there are still a number of steps a business can take to lessen the impact of a Contested Review, including posting a response that gives their side of the story. Indeed, we strongly believe not only in the customer’s right to express their opinion, but also in the business’ right to reply. We call this feature a Management Response.

You can learn more about the ways in which a business can respond to a Contested Review here.

To learn more about how our tracking system catches fake reviews, watch this video.

...

How Does TripAdvisor Catch Fake Reviews?

How Does TripAdvisor Catch Fake Reviews? Here we explain the three different types of fake reviews and how TripAdvisor uses a combination of technology and detective work to stop fake reviews reaching the site…

Review sites have a responsibility to identify and take action against those who try to submit fake reviews. It is a responsibility we take very seriously, and so for more than a decade TripAdvisor has invested in new technology and a team of expert investigators to catch fake reviews.

A Fake Review is defined as any review submitted by someone who is either biased or did not have a personal experience with the business they are reviewing. Note that Fake Reviews are not the same as Contested Reviews (where a customer who is unconnected to the business has shared a personal experience that is disputed by that business). You can learn more about how we approach Contested Reviews here.

Fake reviews usually fall into one of three categories: Biased Positive Reviews, Biased Negative Reviews or Paid Reviews.

Biased Positive Reviews

A biased positive review is when someone connected with a business — such as an owner, employee, or even a friend or relative — attempts to post a positive review of that business. We also call this Review Boosting.

Reviews of this nature are unlikely to provide an objective account of what the customer experience is really like given the reviewer’s personal association or stake with that business.

Biased positive reviews can also occur when a business offers its customers incentives, such as a free meal or a discount, to post reviews. You can find out more about why we don’t allow review incentives here.

We catch biased positive reviews with our tracking system, which spots patterns and online markers that might indicate whether friends, family or members of staff are attempting to submit reviews about a business. On top of this, we encourage the community to let us know when they see a business offering incentives in exchange for reviews. Our team then investigates these reports and takes action against any business caught trying to collect positive reviews in this way.

Biased Negative Reviews

A biased negative review is when someone submits a deliberately malicious review about a property in an effort to unfairly lower its ranking position or improperly discredit the property in some way. We also call this Review Vandalism.

Most biased negative reviews come from one of two sources — either from someone connected to a rival establishment, or from someone who is trying to blackmail a business by threatening to submit a false negative review.

There are a number of ways we catch these types of reviews.

Similar to biased positive reviews, our tracking system can spot reviewer characteristics that might indicate whether a reviewer has a connection to a rival establishment. Even if they try to cover their tracks, their reviews won’t conform to the patterns we’d expect to find from a sample of genuine customer reviews. Our system can spot this and trigger an investigation.

On top of this, we have a tool that business owners can use to report instances where someone has threatened them with a bad review in an attempt to obtain a discount or freebie. Reporting threats immediately helps our team block the person who made the threat from posting a review. You can find out how to do so here.

Paid Reviews

This is when a business, either knowingly or unwittingly, employs the services of an individual or a company to boost its ranking position on TripAdvisor with positive reviews. We also call this Review Optimization.

We catch paid reviews using a combination of our tracking system, which identifies suspicious review activity, and a dedicated team of investigators who pursue the companies and individuals that attempt to sell them.

In fact, as a result of the team’s efforts, TripAdvisor has put a stop to the activity of over 60 different paid review companies around the world.

You can read more about the different ways we are able to catch paid review companies here.

...

How Does TripAdvisor Determine Whether a Review Is Biased?

How Does TripAdvisor Determine Whether a Review Is Biased?

Even when a person has visited a hotel or restaurant, their review could still breach our guidelines if it is biased. Here we describe some of the scenarios in which a review could be considered biased...

In order for reviews to be useful and accurate, they should be based on real and impartial customer experiences. By this we mean that there should not be any ulterior motive for someone to leave a review other than to share an honest account of their own personal experience. We consider any review that is predisposed to be either positive or negative to be biased and therefore against TripAdvisor guidelines.

Here are a few scenarios which might lead to biased reviews:

Paid Reviews

Reviews that a business has attempted to purchase are biased and do not provide travelers with the impartial advice they are looking for. They are also unfair to hard-working businesses that play by the rules. Fortunately, our team of investigators is very effective at catching those who claim to offer reviews for hire, and we take firm action against businesses that try to use such services. You can learn more about how we catch reviews like this here.

Incentivized Reviews

Incentives are rewards or preferential treatment offered by a business in return for a review. Examples include offering discounts or reduced prices on a current or future experience in exchange for a review, or even promising upgrades, vouchers or any special treatment in return for reviews.

TripAdvisor encourages businesses to ask all customers to write reviews and share their feedback. However, we do not allow offering any kind of incentive for a review because this can impact the impartiality of that review. Under our incentives policy, we penalize any businesses that are found to be offering incentives to customers.

Blackmail...

How Does the TripAdvisor Review Tracking System Work?

How Does the TripAdvisor Review Tracking System Work? Here we explain how the technology behind our review tracking system works, and how we use it to catch fake reviews and prevent them from reaching the site...

When someone submits a review on TripAdvisor, it goes through a series of checks before it is posted to the site. These checks are done automatically by our review tracking system, which analyzes hundreds of pieces of information.

The tracking system is our first line of defense against fake reviews, and it means we can analyze every review prior to it being posted on the site. Such a task would be impossible if we relied only on human moderation, because the volume of review submissions from the global travel community is so high — TripAdvisor receives hundreds of contributions every minute.

What pieces of information does the tracking system check?

Because reviews are submitted online, there are hundreds of pieces of electronic information we can analyze to help us understand more about every review’s origin and circumstance. For example, we can see the location of the device that was used to submit a review, as well as some details about the specifications of that device. Even if someone is trying to hide information about their device location, which fraudsters often do, we can spot that too.

That is just one example — there are lots of other pieces of information that we look out for. They act like pieces of a puzzle that our tracking system is designed to join together, creating a complete picture of each review.

Can TripAdvisor give other examples of what the tracking system checks?

In the same way a bank cannot share too much information about the security systems it uses, unfortunately we cannot share a full list of everything our system tracks. We would love to show off all of the things our technology can do, but we also have to be cautious not to provide any information that fraudsters might try to use to get around our systems.

What is the tracking system looking for?

Our tracking system is designed to do two things — block reviews that are clearly in breach of our guidelines, such as those that include offensive language or plagiarized content, and also spot unusual patterns that might indicate a review is biased or fake.

When our tracking system identifies a review that is clearly in breach of our guidelines, it rejects that review and blocks it from being posted to the site in the first place.

When our tracking system identifies an unusual pattern of review activity, it triggers an investigation by our team of moderators. While the investigation takes place, the reviews associated with the unusual activity are blocked from being posted to the site. You can learn more about the types of reviews that might be flagged for investigation here.

...

What Does TripAdvisor Do To Stop The Buying and Selling of Fake Reviews Online?

What Does TripAdvisor Do To Stop The Buying and Selling of Fake Reviews Online?

Buying reviews is a dishonest business practice that misleads customers and is deeply unfair to the majority of businesses that play by the rules. Here we explain why TripAdvisor takes a hard line against the small minority of businesses who try to buy reviews, and how we catch the companies that sell them…

The vast majority of business owners play fair on TripAdvisor. They work hard to provide a great customer experience, and they want those customers to share honest feedback in their reviews.

Unfortunately, there are some individuals and/or companies who try to exploit hospitality business owners by soliciting money in exchange for fake reviews. These companies often masquerade as legitimate businesses and they make various false promises about what their ‘services’ deliver. Their main claim is that they can boost a hospitality business’ ranking on TripAdvisor with positive reviews.

We refer to this category of fake reviews as Paid Reviews and they represent a form of fraud. It is a problem we take extremely seriously. We have a dedicated team of investigators who work 24/7 to catch paid review companies and prevent them from operating on our site. We also work with regulators and law enforcement agencies around the world to successfully prosecute some of the worst offenders. In many countries, both the buying and selling of reviews is illegal, and if caught, paid reviewers can be sentenced to time in prison.

What is the difference between a Paid Review company and a Review Optimization company?

They are two different names for the same thing. We think ‘paid review companies’ is the clearest and simplest way to refer to all businesses or individuals that sell fake reviews.

It is important to note that ‘review optimization’ is not to be confused with other optimization tools that offer a legitimate service, such as ‘search engine optimization’.

How can TripAdvisor spot a Paid Review?

TripAdvisor has been tracking millions of reviews for well over a decade which enables us to build very accurate models of the way normal travelers post reviews. Paid reviewers don’t conform to this model, even when they try to disguise their activity. Even small differences in review submission patterns can be spotted by our tracking system and trigger an investigation by our team of experts.

You can learn more about how our tracking system works here.

How does TripAdvisor catch paid review companies?

In addition to our sophisticated tracking system, our dedicated team of investigators track down and stop the companies that claim to offer paid reviews.

There are a number of ways we do this.

...

Investigations Spotlight: Jail Time for Review Fraud

Investigations Spotlight: Jail Time for Review Fraud

In the second in a series of behind-the-scenes articles highlighting the vital work of our review fraud investigators, we delve into an Italian investigation that delivered some groundbreaking results...

The buying or selling of fake reviews — known as paid review fraud — is not only dishonest, but also illegal in many countries. Fortunately, because of our highly evolved detection and deterrent techniques, the amount of fraud attempted on TripAdvisor is extremely small. We take any attempts at review fraud very seriously, and with over 15 years’ experience, we are the industry leaders at catching it.

Back in 2015, our dedicated team of fraud investigators identified a new illegal business in Italy called PromoSalento that was offering to write fake reviews for hospitality businesses to boost their profile on TripAdvisor. Several Italian businesses forwarded the emails to us, which kick-started an investigation that would ultimately see the person behind PromoSalento sent to jail!

Here is how we did it:

Step #1: Identify The Perpetrator

The first step of the investigation was to confirm the identity of the person behind the emails as well as other individuals we suspected were involved with the PromoSalento business. Through research and detection work, our investigators gathered a variety of details on the people involved, including email addresses, residential addresses and personal connections.

Step #2: Gather The Evidence and Block Reviews

The next step was to establish that PromoSalento had not only advertised fake review services, but had actually attempted to submit fake reviews to our site. This is an important step because companies or individuals sometimes claim they can submit fake reviews or influence our site, only for them to disappear with the money once a business has signed up to their ‘services.’

Our investigators applied advanced digital forensics to identify and analyze links between PromoSalento and attempted submissions to our site. Over the course of our investigation, our technical analysis identified and then either blocked or removed more than 1,000 attempts by PromoSalento to submit reviews to the TripAdvisor site on hundreds of different properties.

PromoSalento attempted to avoid our scrutiny by regularly changing their usernames and email addresses, but our fraud detection processes use a suite of advanced technologies to evaluate hundreds of review attributes such as IP addresses, browser types and even the screen resolution of a reviewer’s device. Based on that analysis, we were able to see a trail of digital and behavioral ‘breadcrumbs’ that led our team straight back to PromoSalento.

Step #3: Penalize Properties

The next step was to connect this activity to the businesses paying PromoSalento to write fake reviews on their behalf. We believe those who do not play by the rules should be penalized and we have strong penalties in place for businesses that try to manipulate our system.

Our investigators gathered a detailed collection of evidence linking several hundred businesses to fake reviews submitted by PromoSalento. The team then notified these businesses and applied penalties that demoted their positions in our rankings. A ranking penalty — which reduces a business’s position within the TripAdvisor Popularity Ranking — is often the first penalty we apply in cases like this.

Red badges

For most of the businesses we caught in connection with PromoSalento, our ranking penalties were enough to stop fraud in its tracks. But where we saw suspicious activity continue, the next step was to issue a red badge, which is a notice displayed on a business’s TripAdvisor listing page warning travelers that the business has been trying to manipulate reviews. The notice outlines the type of fraud we have spotted.

We always seek to engage with businesses before a red badge is applied, and in this case, several businesses were willing to share information to support TripAdvisor’s investigations. This allowed us to gather even more evidence against PromoSalento, including confirmation of payments, bank transactions and service receipts.

...