A travel operator has called on popular travel website TripAdvisor to overhaul its review system, arguing many operators in the industry are being harmed by negative SEO from user comments.
The consumer website has developed into one of the most sought out travel forums, with thousands of holidaymakers checking in there before checking in at the airport. However, with negative and unsubstantiated reviews being left in far greater numbers than positive ones, many feel the risks to hotels and tour operators are clearly evident.
The issue was raised by Steve Endacott at a Travel Technology Europe debate in February 2013.
Outlining how he is now preferring the authentication that review site Feefo provides, the CEO of the On Holiday Group, said :
“The biggest problem I have got is how TripAdvisor deals with extreme comments and forums. The title never changes on SEO that creeps up the page and that’s what people see. I think that the TripAdvisor system is badly flawed and should be changed.”
However, the chief executive of Lowcost Holidays, Lawrence Hunt, said that negative reviews actually provide a great opportunity to increase business position. He argued that companies who respond can affect change in perception, as well as create positive search engine optimisation, as the company is clearly visible and transparent.
Richard Anson, the founder of Reevoo, also said that firms not being proactive to comments would naturally attract a greater proportion of negative responses.
However, both Hunt and Anson agreed with Endacott, that TripAdvisor needed to take more action in regards to defamatory and insulting comments.