TripAdvisor Website Review & Ratings + TripAdvisor Coupons
Airfare Daily Deals eCigarettes Eyeglasses Hotels Jewelry Online Backup Online Dating Online Printing Online Tickets Skin Care Textbook Rentals Vitamins Web Hosting Weddings
Find thousands of shopping-related forums
SEARCH

TripAdvisor Website Review & Ratings + TripAdvisor Coupons

TripAdvisor: Products & Services

TripAdvisor is a travel guide delivered via its website TripAdvisor.com.  Its purpose is to assist consumers in gathering travel information, in posting objective reviews of travel, attraction, and destination content, and to engage consumers in interactive travel forums. TripAdvisor users can post their vacation videos and travel marketers can display their attractions featuring their videos on TripAdvisor free of charge.  One can also use TripAdvisor's personalization tools free of charge to retain hotel, restaurant, or attraction reviews to personal folders within the website. Travelers can customize and expand their plans by adding maps, photos, notes, and other travel details.  Consumers can check hotel pricing and availability across multiple vendor commerce sites.




TripAdvisor: Company Background

TripAdvisor is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts.  TripAdvisor operates sister sites in other countries, namely, The UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Japan, and India.  TripAdvisor is part of the Expedia Network.  TripAdvisor was founded in February 2000 by Stephen Kaufer.  The company was purchased by InterActive Corporation in 2004.  IAC spun off its travel group of businesses under the Expedia, Inc. name in August 2005.

TripAdvisor: Customer Feedback & Reviews

The Guardian UK posted a recent article on TripAdvisor based on their interviews and research.  The article states that, "I look up the TripAdvisor reviews of the Ritz in London. Out of 279, 166 give the hotel five stars out of five, but 27 give it just one, and their reasons are varied and revealing – about the hotel, and also the reviewers. "Beware the stuffy and outdated dress code," warns one, "apparently being dressed head to toe in Armani and having a Prada handbag isn't good enough for this officious and petty hotel." Visitors praise the helpful staff and comfortable beds, but there are complaints about a musty smell, the paucity of gluten-free treats at afternoon tea and, as Blank predicted, the requisite gripe about "rotten fruit". It is a window into a delicious alternative world: one of disgruntlement for the reviewer, schadenfreude for the reader.  In fact, those reviews of the Ritz sum up all that is simultaneously brilliant and annoying about TripAdvisor: its celebration of consumer power, of the right for everyone's opinion to be heard and accorded equal weight – and the bewildering contradictions in its reviews."  They also mention that, "Not only is there a slew of information, it's not clear how much of it is reliable. Travel writer Edward Hasbrouck reported that at a marketing conference in 2006 a top advertising agency publicly declared it had a division "devoted to seeding online forums and bulletin boards with targeted content".".  They highlight some of the annoyances with TripAdvisor, but also some of the advantages of the site based on its very nature and set-up.  

Another unbiased article on TripAdvisor, written by The Telegraph, UK's Charles Starmer-Smith, states that, "TripAdvisor's online reviews now shape the way we plan our holidays but, as Charles Starmer-Smith discovers, they are not always what they seem.  For hotels as well as guests, sites such as TripAdvisor are a powerful, controversial tool.  "Get the truth, then go" is the mantra of TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel-review website, which only makes the following all the more alarming.  Log on to its website and type the words "racist" or "racism" into the search engine and you might be surprised by what you find: together they crop up more than 2,300 times in reviews. "Pervert/perverted" features in 353 reviews, "homophobic/homophobia" in 295, "rapist" in 33, and "pedophile" in 10. Often these defamatory terms are used to describe hotel or restaurant staff, b & b owners, waiters and receptionists.  "There is a real risk of getting raped here," wrote one reviewer of a hotel in Munich; "the proprietor … is one of the worst pedophile priests", said another of a guesthouse in Scotland; "the woman that runs this bar is a racist – fact!"  Can we be sure that these reviews really are the "truth"?  TripAdvisor is also awash with references to food poisoning (10,951), bed bugs (31,429), assault (1,064) and theft (7,554) – accusations that leave an indelible stain on the establishment concerned, but which can be made without a shred of evidence. Reviews are the words of "trusted members of the travel community", according to TripAdvisor – and yet no checks are made on the identity of the people who post them and no proof of stay is needed.  In fact, all that is required to upload these travel "truths" is an anonymous username and email address (which can easily be faked).  "Our policy clearly states that, in addition to profanity, no hate speech, sexually explicit language or graphic reports of violent criminal activity will be tolerated. We are a proponent of free speech and we believe many aspects of a traveler's experiences are valid travel-planning considerations," said a spokesman for TripAdvisor.  Earlier this year, I uploaded a fictitious nine-bedroom guesthouse – the 111 Hotel – using the address of the Telegraph Media Group and a picture of the office canteen. I added a couple of "over-the-top" reviews (with blatant hyperbole and five-star ratings). After 10 days of my constant tinkering it was finally spotted – but it was time enough for it to be rated in London's top 70 guesthouses (out of more than 300) and time enough for an unsuspecting traveler to be potentially duped into parting with a deposit or turning up at an address to be met by someone whose intentions would be unclear.  Only a decade after it was founded, TripAdvisor last month became the first travel website to achieve more than 40 million unique visitors in a month. From the outset its warts-and-all accounts were applauded for shaking up a complacent hotel industry. Instead of glossy brochures and toned-down guidebook reviews, travelers suddenly had access to real accounts, from real people, paying real money. The service has also proved popular with many owners of b & bs and small hotels, whose high ratings have earned them high exposure.  "TripAdvisor was a real 'wake-up' call," said Amelia Whitaker, who opened Nearwater, a luxury b & b in St. Mawes, Cornwall, in May. "It has enabled us to establish a trading history very quickly, and knowing anyone can go on it is a great motivator to keep standards high."  Others are less delighted by TripAdvisor'sSeptember also marked the month when hundreds of hoteliers and restaurateurs threatened to bring a group legal action against the website. For while good reviews can be the making of hotels, restaurants and b & bs, bad reviews can break them.  "To a small business with only a few reviews, claims of food poisoning can be devastating," said Chris Emmins of KwikChex, the company bringing the action on the hotels' behalf. "We have looked at around 100 [of such cases] and there has been no report to the local health authority and we could find no evidence of food poisoning."  KwikChex's lawyers are also looking at dozens of unverified claims of theft or racism.  Reviewers may not be able to remain anonymous for much longer: KwikChex is considering asking the courts to identify those making defamatory comments.  "A legal precedent has already been set regarding disclosure for these type of cases," he said.  TripAdvisor is not the only site to have built a business around user-generated reviews – Holiday Watchdog and Holidays Uncovered are among its rivals – but it is by far the most influential.  Some websites are open about their inability to police reviews. Bedbugregistry.com, a website set up in the US to report incidences of bedbugs in hotels, admits that it has no idea whether postings are genuine. "Our reports have not been vetted for accuracy," it says. "We remind readers to take things with a grain of salt. Some reports are posted by malicious tenants. Some are posted by evil competitors. Some are posted by hypochondriacs."  Several travel companies have embraced these user-generated websites, employing staff to contact guests after they have checked out (to right any wrongs and encourage positive feedback). Hotel giants such as the Accor group (Novotel, Sofitel, Mercure) send out emails encouraging guests to post reviews; tourist boards, such as VisitScotland and VisitLondon, include TripAdvisor ratings on their websites.  Other owners are less sanguine. Frank McCready, owner of the Old Brewery Guesthouse in North Yorkshire, set up a website in March entitled ihateTripAdvisor.org.uk to raise awareness about the damage that misleading TripAdvisor reviews can cause. He says: "TripAdvisor's successful business model appears to be based upon a minimum of checks, an arrogant disregard for accuracy and truthfulness, and a customer-service regime that is virtually non-existent. It is too easy for hotels to write their own reviews, or pay others to write them. It is too easy for reviewers to post untruthful or damaging reviews, or for hoteliers to 'sabotage' their competitors."  The impact on a business can be severe. Des Hague owns Thornsett House, a £25-a-night b & b near Sheffield. He admits it is not perfect, but says it is a good-value, simple guesthouse, whose business was crippled by "spiteful" reviews on TripAdvisor. Under the subject of "B & B Hell", one reviewer said: "I have ... visited morgues, abandoned buildings, a sewage works and a coal pit. Each and every one was cleaner, tidier and better staffed than Thornsett House." So dismayed was Hague by the subsequent drop-off in visitors that he is giving up the b & b business after 30 years.  Holidaymakers are increasingly aware of the power they have at their fingertips. Privately, hoteliers admit that guests and corporate groups have tried to use the threat of a bad TripAdvisor review or the promise of a series of good reviews to secure discounted room rates or upgrades. Hotel and b & b owners also complain that it is difficult to have a review changed or removed even when they present proof that it is untrue. They claim that TripAdvisor adopts a "guilty until proven innocent" policy with hotel management. McCready said: "The process involved in posting a management response is arduous, and I have found it almost impossible to have a response posted without censorship."  Complaints have also been made by hotels that outdated reviews are never removed. The Savoy, which is reopening this month with great fanfare, still has reviews dating back to 2003 that bear no relevance to the experience the hotel offers today. TripAdvisor said that its "Popularity Index" gives more weight to recent reviews and if notified with proof of a new owner, it will make "appropriate changes" to the listing.  The anger of owners has been intensified by the emails TripAdvisor sends to users, media organizations and PR companies, with subject lines such as "Don't go there – hotel horror stories", "Meals from hell" and "The world's dirtiest hotels". Emmins of KwikChex claims these unfairly influence the traveling public. "Adding disparaging and out-of-context comments, overemphasizing the reliability of unverified reviews and failing to respond to offers of evidence may make TripAdvisor liable," he said.  TripAdvisor said it could not comment on threatened or pending litigation. A spokeswoman said: "Hoteliers always have the option of posting a management response to any review on their property – and therefore ... the opportunity to thank the good and offer perspective on the bad."  It is not just the content of the reviews that has been questioned, but the bona fides of the reviewers. Hoteliers are regularly approached by companies promising to post positive reviews on websites in return for monthly fees. Ed Hasbrouck, a campaigning American travel journalist, reported that at a marketing conference in 2006, one leading advertising agency was already boasting that it had an entire division "devoted to seeding online forums and bulletin boards with targeted content". It added that its employees would spend months creating profiles and posting "neutral" messages to establish a credible background. That was four years ago; the game will have moved on and up a level since then.  A spokeswoman for TripAdvisor claimed that the company was aware of these marketing companies' activities, and had penalized the hotels it suspects of being involved. These measures include altering their popularity rating on the site and posting public warning notices on hotels that have attempted to manipulate ratings.  She added: "Hoteliers understand the tremendous risk to their reputation and business if they attempt to post fraudulent information. It is illegal to post fake reviews under the 2009 EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive."  In the United States last year, in one of the first cases of its kind, a plastic surgery company had to pay $300,000 in damages after its staff were revealed to have uploaded numerous fake reviews. In Europe, however, there have been no prosecutions under the EU directive. One Scottish hotelier admitted to me that he had written several fake reviews to get his hotel up the charts and all were published; a leading public-relations company claimed that fake reviews were "rife".  TripAdvisor has taken steps to counter fake reviews. Last year disclaimers began appearing when reviews came under suspicion of being fake. The company said that it uses specialist software and algorithms to screen reviews and has a team of moderators to investigate suspicious postings.  Even TripAdvisor makes a tacit admission that you cannot trust all the reviews. A spokeswoman said: "Our advice to travelers is to throw out the anomalies that appear overly critical or overly complimentary. What is left is the collective wisdom of the community." She added that the site has more than two million photographs to help people make an educated evaluation.  But the issue is no longer how to reconcile wildly differing reviews of the same establishment – such as "Amazing, Amazing, Amazing", as one review says of Centara Grand Beach Resort in Thailand, next to another that says, "Avoid! This must be the worst five-star hotel in the world". As with British politics, it is the middle ground everyone is fighting for.  Users are aware that little tricks – adding an element of critique to a glowing review, saying something positive before you slate a hotel, using different email addresses and computers, reviewing other hotels to establish a track record – can help them get around the detectors.  There are even websites to help you circumvent the rules. "Writing fake reviews is a great option for almost any business," said Bob McClain of Wordsmithbob.com, a site that offers a masterclass in the craft.  So what is the solution? Well, it is certainly not Trip Elated, a site launched last month that shows only positive hotel reviews. Oyster, a US-based site launched last year that uses a team of professional reviewers who take photographs, is a much better alternative. However, its scope is currently limited to eight US cities and six Caribbean islands."

There is value in using this website.  If you read a review that is ridiculous, use your judgement, because people can be malicious towards a business is they have had a bad experience and essentially can write whatever they wish in a review so take these reviews with a grain of salt and make your own reasonable and logical deductions.  This is only a guide to assist you in making your traveling plans. 

TripAdvisor: Business Credibility & Trustworthiness
TripAdvisor, Inc. is not a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business.  However, they do have an open profile with the consumer protection agency and on a grading scale that ranges from A+ to F, and, unfortunately, the site gets an F grade. Keep in mind that businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation.  To be accredited by BBB, a business must apply for accreditation and BBB must determine that the business meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses must pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.  Further, the site is mostly driven on content uploaded by users and the site does not charge for its services. 
 
Reason for Rating

Factors that lowered the rating for TripAdvisor, Inc. include:

TripAdvisor: Website Popularity & Google Ranking

TripAdvisor.com has a 3-month global Alexa Traffic Rank of 280.  The trip planning site is particularly popular among users in the city of Bangkok, Thailand, where it is ranked 72, according to Alexa. While approximately 43 percent of the informative website's visitors come from The United States, where it is ranked 112, according to Alexa, it is also popular in Thailand, where it is ranked 73.  In addition, TripAdvisor.com has a Google Page Rank of 8.

TripAdvisor: Social Media Presence

TripAdvisor maintains a Facebook page where the site has attained 241,282 likes.  They also have a Twitter account that they have tweeted from 8,646 times They are following 2,690 other Twitter accounts and have a colossal Twitter following of  718,762.  One can also find TripAdvisor on Pinterest on 57 Boards that contain 7,266 pins as well as 9 likes.  They have  7,739 followers there and are following 133 other Pinterest profiles.  TripAdvisor has their very own popular YouTube that has acquired 1,541 subscribers and has had a whopping 1,645,768 video views.  Further, you can find more information about the company on their Crunchbase profile.  In addition, they have a Google Plus profile where you can find them online. 

TripAdvisor: Website Security & Safety

Google Safe Browsing's Diagnostic Page for TripAdvisor.com does not currently list the site as suspicious.  However, part of the website was listed for suspicious activity 3 times over the past 90 days.  Of the 9,801 pages tested on the site over the past 90 days, 3 pages resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited the site was on January 28, 2013, and the last time suspicious content was found on the site was on January 27, 2013.  Malicious software included 4 exploits. Successful infection resulted in an average of 1 new process on the target machine.  Malicious software was hosted on 8 domains, including Ahzhfvfjn.freewww.biz, Comfortsuitessa.com, and Hotelcasanaranja.com.  Five domains appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including Hotelcasanaranja.com, Snafu.de/, and Manakaimaui.com.

TripAdvisor: Pricing & Packages

TripAdvisor consists of mostly user-generated content. The website services are free to users, who provide most of the content, and the website is supported by an advertising business model.  TripAdvisor is a free travel guide and research website that offers reviews and information such as engaging interactive travel forums to help you decide which travel plans to make, but you make no purchases on the site and there are no fees for visiting the site. 


TripAdvisor: Shipping Rates & Policies

No shipping polilcy.

TripAdvisor: Payment Methods Accepted

TripAdvisor serves to assist consumers with gathering reliable travel information, posting of reviews about travel-related content as well as reading reviews to assist in travel decisions.  Since the site relies on ad revenue, consumers who use the site are not charged any fees to access the site's informational content or to interact with other consumers on the site.  No direct purchases are actually made on the site.  As a result, there are no payment methods necessary since the site is free to access and use.

TripAdvisor: Returns, Refunds & Exchange Policy

TripAdvisor consists of free, user-generated content. The website services are free to users, who provide most of the site's content.  Since the site operates supported by this type of content and you don't actually purchase anything directly from the website, there is no return policy associated with the website as there is no need for such a policy.

TripAdvisor: Product images & screenshots
TripAdvisor Coupons
Best Available TripAdvisor Coupon:
Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
experts
in on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Eye Care & Vision?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (0)
TripAdvisor Rating Summary
Customer Reviews
Have you used TripAdvisor? Help Knoji's 1 million+ consumers by sharing your experiences with tripadvisor.com.
Post Your Review
Get the Best TripAdvisor Deals in Your Inbox
Be first to know about exclusive discounts for TripAdvisor.
You can 1-click unsubscribe from any notification we send you
TRIPADVISOR COUPONS
ARTICLE DETAILS
COMPANY DETAILS
RELATED ARTICLES