Hotels and resorts where sexual assaults are said to have occurred are being highlighted by TripAdvisor after claims that the company was suppressing warnings by guests.
Red banners appear prominently in listings and are allocated based on news reports as well as comments and complaints from the review site’s users.
“Badges will remain on TripAdvisor for up to three months,” a spokesman told The New York Times. “However, if the issues persist we may extend the duration of the badge.”
He added that badges were not intended to be punitive, only informative.
So far three resorts in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico have been flagged – the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya and the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo, each of which has received thousands of mostly positive reviews.
However, many properties where sexual assaults are alleged in user reviews to have taken place are not flagged.
TripAdvisor’s move comes after the company was accused of ignoring warnings of rape.
Last week it apologised to Kristie Love, 35, from Dallas, after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that employees had repeatedly deleted a forum post about the Paraiso Maya resort, where she said she had been raped by a security guard.
TripAdvisor said that Love’s post had broken previous rules allowing only posts written in “family-friendly” language.
Another guest told the Journal Sentinel that TripAdvisor repeatedly blocked her review because her allegations of assault contained “hearsay”.
More than 100 people told the newspaper last month that they had blacked out after having a few drinks at all-inclusive resorts in Riviera Maya.
The website, which features more than 500 million reviews of locations around the world, said it would work in future to prevent comments being removed on technicalities, according to The Times.
“Our new email communications will clearly articulate the phrase or sentences that are in violation of our policy, inviting the reviewer to make edits and resubmit their review,” the spokesman said.
The badge that appears on flagged properties says: “TripAdvisor has been made aware of recent media reports or events concerning this property which may not be reflected in reviews found on this listing.
“Accordingly, you may wish to perform additional research about this property when making your travel plans.”