I was at a travel conference recently where the speaker disparaged TripAdvisor, saying that it was untrustworthy because of review manipulation. We also recently came across this article by Caitlin McDevitt that also echoes the trust issues with crowdsourcing sites.
What is a travel business to think? We hear of the impact of TripAdvisor all the time and client businesses see both the benefits of traffic from good reviews and the damage control necessary for bad reviews.
Are this article's or travel industry specialist's implications that a travel business doesn't need to worry about TripAdvisor because travel businesses are manipulating reviews correct?
We have counseled clients that TripAdvisor is a great opportunity, and we stick to this idea. Is there review manipulation and some outright fraud? Yes. Is TripAdvisor having problems effectively combating it? Yes. Do these things make TripAdvisor useless to consumers? No.
As some who commented on the article state, those who have used TripAdvisor state that yes, it is possible to manipulate, but it is also very easy to read through the garbage and make an educated decision.
I think it is important for travel businesses who are managing their reputation on TripAdvisor to speak to the educated consumer.
There are always going to be abuses on crowdsourcing sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp, but they are too effective on the whole and valuable to the consumer to go away, in my opinion.
Have you used TripAdvisor to plan travel? Did your resulting experience match the impressions you got on TripAdvisor? Share your experiences!
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