Hoteliers take on TripAdvisor

In the last decade one of the most tricky issues holiday accommodation has had to deal with is likely to be the online review.


More likely than not appearing on TripAdvisor, angry reviews could reach millions in minutes of being posted. Holiday goers could browse reviews in an attempt to find a true reflection of a hotel’s services, and honest opinions of places to stay.


Now hoteliers are fighting back against negative reviews, which many argue are unfair views of tricky customers or worse – fake reviews written by rivals to ruin reputations.


TripAdvisor have responded by opening a new customer support phone lines, which will allow untruthful reviews to be flagged up.


Following a documentary on Channel 4 focusing on the negative comments posted on the website, an investigation was launched by the Advertising Standards Agency.


UK-based hoteliers with a grievance can call 0800 098 8460 or 0203 318 5019.

‘Reviews you can trust’ removed from TripAdvisor website

The famous ‘reviews you can trust’ slogan has been removed from TripAdvisor’s website, and been replaced with ‘reviews from our community’.


This follows allegations made by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) over that bogus reviews have been posted on the site.


A investigation has been launched concentrating on were the reviews can be trusted – claims that the post were made by ‘real travellers’ could not be substantiated.


It is thought that between five and ten million reviews could be fake, has had up to 2,000 hoteliers approaching them feeling they have been incorrectly reviewed and claiming the site can be misleading.


The website which helps more than 45 million consumers fin hotels each month is alleged to have refused to remove deceptive posts and does not substantiate its reviews or verify its users.


Kwikchex argues that this means TripAdvisor is not as reliable as it declares.


However, the travel website was prompt to state that the alteration to the website was not an outcome of the ASA investigation, but a decision made before it was even launched.


Emma O’Boyle, a spokesperson for TripAdvisor, said: ‘The “reviews from our community”, which is now visible on the hotel pages, is part of our evolving communication efforts, this time highlighting our commitment to our all-important community.


‘The description of TripAdvisor as a trustworthy source of travel advice and information remains used in other parts of the site, and by example you’ll still see this wording on the homepage.


She added: ‘This evolution was carried out across all domains gradually from June to August this year, first appearing in the UK on June 27, 2011.’


KwikChex’s co-founder Chris Emmins, said the company had recently found more cases of hotels being the target of false negative reviews, and subsequently being ‘red flagged’ by TripAdvisor.

Bare all: top five nude beaches

In honor of the recent Nude Recreation Week, TripAdvisor is bringing opportunities to go “au naturel” out into the light, from a massive skinny-dip to relaxing sans suit on sunny shores. Revealed today, the top 5 naked events and top 5 nude beaches according to TripAdvisor editors and travelers.

Top 5 Naked Events:

As these five events prove, nudity is truly a way to express oneself.

Biking in the Buff: World Naked Bike Ride – Worldwide, June and July

Each year since 2004, bike riders have joined to celebrate cycling and protest a culture where cars are king. This year, in 20 countries around the world, participants advocated freedom from oil…and fabric. Nude cyclists bared their bods to stand (or rather sit) for what they believe in, with messages painted on their backs, fronts, and rears. If you plan to participate next year, one TripAdvisor traveler advises, “Remember the sunscreen…those saddles will be hot, hot, hot, so cover them up before alighting, people!”

Daring Dip: AANR World Record Skinny Dip – Across North America, July 2009

Put more than 12,000 people shoulder deep in pools across North America without a stitch of clothing in sight, and what do you get? The “largest number of people skinny dipping at once,” now a category in the Guinness Book of World Records thanks to the American Association for Nude Recreation. All participants were required to don their full birthday suits (no cheating), and word has it they plan to strip down again next year in hopes of beating the heat and their own record.

Maslin Madness: Nude Beach Olympics – Maslin Beach, Australia, January

Happily, these Olympics don’t include a nude luge (ouch), as they take place on Australia’s sunny Maslin Beach, where the games are a celebration of Maslin’s status as first official nude beach in the country. Among the games is the three-legged race (pun intended), in which participants tie their feet together.

Barely Bulls: Running of the Nudes – Pamplona, Spain, July

This nude crew means business. PETA’s “Running of the Nudes” protests the cruelty of bullfighting…but is also just what it sounds like: participants have chosen to show a little skin in hopes that one day Pamplona’s bulls won’t have to, donning plastic bull horns, red scarves, and little else, and running the half-mile Pamplona course. One TripAdvisor traveler admits, “I was shocked but entertained because everything was jiggling around and flopping around, if you know what I mean.”

Share Some Skin: Burning Man – Black Rock Desert, Nevada, August – September

The annual Burning Man project is a self-proclaimed haven of self-expression, creativity and community, and what better way to express oneself than to undress oneself? Drawing 50,000 people to the Black Rock Desert in 2008, huge works of art are generated at the event, namely the “Man,” which is burned on the final night as part of the process of restoring the area to its natural state, with no trace of the revelers. Participants often take advantage of the free-spirited attitude by getting nude, whether it be by the light of the fire…or the many moons.

Top 5 Nude Beaches:

The recession has been hard on everyone – no money for a snazzy swimsuit? No problem. No clothing is required at these sizzling spots, where anyone and everyone can be freed of the fetters of garb.

Worth the Haul: Haulover Beach Park – Miami Beach, Florida

With more than one million visitors each year, Haulover Beach Park is renowned for a busy, family-friendly atmosphere with the option to experience a laid-back naturist environment, not to mention the short walk to the steamy South Beach nightlife (for which clothing is required, albeit not much of it). One TripAdvisor traveler said, “It was a great and exhilarating experience.”

Natural Niche: Wreck Beach – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

A breathtaking cliff view stretches above the five miles of sand that await those who journey to Canada’s first and largest clothing-optional beach, where nudity is the norm. While naturists will clearly enjoy Wreck, so will naturalists, who can glimpse herons, eagles and other wildlife. One TripAdvisor traveler said, “Wreck Beach is a magical place where I can strip off my layers of clothes and judgments, troubles and insecurities, and become one with the earth.”

Paradise Found: Paradise Beach – Mykonos, Greece

TripAdvisor travelers rave that this beach certainly lives up to its name, and for a (prelapsarian) party atmosphere it doesn’t get much better. Here, amazing scenery and an inviting beach form the backdrop for an ongoing celebration that’s made even better by the option to forego tan lines. One TripAdvisor traveler raved about “swimming in the blue waters and lying on the white sand in a place where humans celebrate the good parts of life…Mykonos is positive energy at its best…just paradise.”

Oriental Undress: Orient Beach – St. Maarten, Caribbean

A tropical beach with the soft sand and the inviting waves beachgoers crave, Orient Beach gives travelers the opportunity to feel the sand between their toes, and possibly other places, too. Coral reefs keep the water calm, and also make for unbelievable snorkeling. Just watch out for the sea urchins. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, “Orient Beach was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever visited. A ‘sun worshipers’ paradise.”

Bronze Beauties: Black’s Beach – San Diego, California

The cliffs surrounding Black’s Beach make it a stunning place to visit for the view alone. But as a place to escape inhibition, Black’s has a history of sunbathers who let it all hang out. Surfers also enjoy the beach, where they can ride the sometimes-dangerous waves (only for the brave), and can even do so sans attire (only for the very brave). One TripAdvisor traveler said, “This is simply a stunning beach…all of us found Black’s Beach to be a very comfortable place to shed our clothes and inhibitions.”

“Travelers looking to really make a statement have got some great choices in these naked events,” said Michele Perry, vice president of communications for TripAdvisor. “And for those looking to let it all hang out or express their inner selves, these top beaches are just the thing.”

TripAdvisor: How One Website is Revolutionising the Niche Travel Industry

It’s the world’s biggest travel website, and it’s revolutionising the industry for both industry leaders and independent attractions. The website is, of course, TripAdvisor, one of the most prominent and influential community-driven websites in the travel space. Since its slow rise to popularity in early 2001, the website has grown into a do-all travel portal, and it’s soon to grow even more.

Founder and CEO Stephen Kaufer has made it clear that TripAdvisor is his own creation. Despite a series of proposed sales and large offers from other travel industry leaders, the remains in Kaufer’s hands and is operated by his own team of employees. Now numbering almost six-hundred, steady growth has seen TripAdvisor’s workforce expand to include workers in every populated continent.

It’s growth that’s been fuelled by the company’s community-friendly approach to reviews and hotel information. TripAdvisor limits the amount of censorship and screening on its website, preferring a hands-off approach to the selected information often seen in travel magazines. Negative reviews are published in their entirety, with users encouraged to offer honest, useful travel advice.

Perhaps that’s why the website has grown so influential over the past decade. For decades, the most visible information on any destination was almost entirely positive – magazines refrained from any overtly negative content or lengthy criticism pieces due to partnerships and style. It’s TripAdvisor’s honest and balanced negativity that often sells (or anti-sells) a destination to readers.

For independent travellers, the website remains a hit. For independent travel businesses, it’s an even bigger success, generating thousands of leads monthly for those that feature in its database. With the boutique travel sector growing throughout the recent economic downturn, small hotels and tourism operators may have found their promotional winner in a prominent TripAdvisor listing.