WASHINGTON D.C. - The Center for Consumer Freedom, which runs BadTripAdvisors.com, released the results of a survey of business owners in the tourism industry. The results show there’s little faith in TripAdvisor. According to the poll, 80% of business owners think TripAdvisor’s rating system can be easily abused. Additionally, 82% believe that TripAdvisor should require reviewers to post a receipt showing that they had actually patronized the business they’re reviewing-a verification check that TripAdvisor has refused to implement despite being plagued by fake reviews.
The mistrust is seemingly well placed. TripAdvisor was fined $600,000 for fake reviews in 2014, and the company removed 280 fake reviews from just one business in the UK after they had ruined the business’ ranking. In another case, TripAdvisor gave a “Traveler’s Choice” award to a closed Tunisian hotel that was the site of a terrorist attack.
Compounding these errors, last autumn TripAdvisor cozied up to the radical animal liberation group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and announced a new policy banning the sale of tickets to certain venues that have animal attractions. This alliance with PETA, which wants to shut down all zoos, aquariums, marine parks, and other tourist attractions with animals, is particularly bizarre given the high ratings of these venues by TripAdvisor’s own users. (Assuming, as TripAdvisor would, that they're correct.)
“Small business owners in the hospitality industry have serious doubts about the legitimacy of TripAdvisor reviews, and fear the service can be abused to harm a business. TripAdvisor's recent advocacy work with groups like PETA only add to the questionable biased nature of TripAdvisor,” commented Will Coggin, research director at the Center. “If TripAdvisor sticks with anti-business and anti-consumer groups like PETA while failing to improve trust among businesses, that should be a sign to investors that the company’s executives are fiddling while Rome burns.”
Survey results are in detail below. The survey was conducted April 30-May 4, 2017 with a sample size of 300 respondents via Google Surveys and has a margin of error of +- 6%.
(1) Do you think that TripAdvisor reviews are all legitimate/truthful reviews?
(2) Do you think TripAdvisor should require reviewers to provide proof they actually patronized the business they're reviewing?
(3) Do you think TripAdvisor could be easily abused to harm a business?
“The Center for Consumer Freedom is nothing more than a discredited front group for private industry lobbyists. They pretend to be concerned about what is right and best for consumers, but in reality they serve only the clandestine interests of their secret industry donors.
Their so-called ‘findings’ were based on a small set of leading survey questions given to a tiny sample of business owners. Much more robust survey data paints a very different picture. In a global survey of 7,215 hospitality business owners in 2015, 82% of business respondents agreed that online review sites like TripAdvisor have had a positive impact on the hospitality industry and service standards, while 70% of businesses said they have taken steps to improve their property’s quality of service as a result of a TripAdvisor review.”