How to Report Issues on TripAdvisor
Learn when and how to report issues or fraud on TripAdvisor.
How to Report Issues on TripAdvisor
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 it’s posted to the wrong property
- If it violates TripAdvisor review guidelines
- If it’s suspicious
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 “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.
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?
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 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 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:
- First, log into your TripAdvisor Management Center.
- In the top menu under "Reviews," click "Report a Review."
- In the "Please tell us what the issue is" section, select "Report fraud."
- "What do you want to do?" menu, select "Report blackmail threat."
- If the review hasn't been posted, choose "No." (Read on for what to do if the review has already been posted).
- Then, if this is your first report of this incident, choose "No."
- 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:
- In your Management Center, under the "Reviews" menu at the top, select "Report a Review."
- Select "Review Concerns" as the issue.
- Select"Review is suspicious" as the problem.
- For reason, select "I want to report something else."
- Then, choose the review in question from the drop down menu.
- 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.