TripAdvisor has been applauded for agreeing to remove old negative reviews after hotels undergo refurbishment.
Steve Tate, chairman of Hotel risk management body CheckSafetyFirst.com, said the online travel reviews giant should be commended for reviewing its policy towards hotels which want to “wipe the review slate clean” after major renovations have taken place.
He said: “At the same time, it is vital that a robust method is used to validate these changes.
“Hotel groups may spend millions on renovations to a property or brands may change, but this doesn’t necessarily remove underlying problems at each property.
“Poor guest experience and negative reviews are usually the result of human error. Dirty rooms, unhelpful staff, poor food and dangerous pools are all the result of poor management which can’t be forgotten about when a renovation is made.
“When TripAdvisor analyses hotel alterations to decide whether old reviews can be deleted, transparency is vital to ensure that a guest is still receiving an accurate picture of where they are looking to stay.
“Guest experience and wellbeing must be the priority, so TripAdvisor must work hotels hard to prove that renovations are worthy of having old reviews removed,” added Tate.
Hotels need to provide building permits, materials invoices, or press releases to prove that the renovations were indeed structural and completed, according to TripAdvisor’s help centre
Old reviews are then deleted from the live site and cannot be accessed by travellers or hoteliers.
“We understand that as part of running a successful hospitality business, sometimes significant renovations are made in an effort to modernize or simply remodel an establishment,” TripAdvisor spokeswoman Alison Croyle told online travel intelligence company Skift.
“With this in mind, TripAdvisor will remove a property’s reviews and photos that were posted prior to completion of a major renovation.”