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.

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Last Updated: January 17, 2018