Planning a vacation can be one of the most exciting parts of travel and at one time or another, almost everyone has stumbled upon Trip Advisor. Before you put your faith in the travel juggernaut just know that Trip Advisor can ruin your vacation.  

Trip Advisor is household name and the largest travel review website in the world. They have the absolute monopoly when you search online anything to do with travel. Like Walmart they stomp out small online business with large purchasing power. They show up number one so we assume they are the best right? Being the biggest doesn't always mean being the best. 

Below are things every traveler should know about Trip Advisor to avoid having it ruin their vacation. 

How Trip Advisor Can Ruin Your Vaction

Trip Advisor depends on the public to write reviews about hotels, restaurants and tours. They are then ranked from best to worse. Website visitors then use these rankings to plan their vacations based on user reviews. Sounds like a perfect system except for the fact that you don't actually have to stay at the hotels, take the tours or eat at the restaurants to leave a review. 

Trip Advisor insists it has a system in place to identify fake reviews but as long as they are written in a normal human way, they will get past the security algorithm. At the end of 2017 a contributor for Vice exposed Trip Advisor in their biggest blunder to date. He invented a totally imaginary restaurant and garnered enough fake reviews to become the #1 restaurant in London. 

“Trip Advisor is a false reality that people took completely seriously” Oobah Butler

The Shed a fake restaurant in London was able to go from #18,000th place to the #1 top rated restaurant on Trip Advisor in only 7 months using fake reviews. 

Trip Advisor Gives Tunisia Hotel Travelers Choice Award After Terrorist Attack

On another occasion Trip Advisor bestowed their top award to the Riu Imperial Marhaba after an Islamist terrorist killed 30 British tourists. The Travelers Choice award is decided first by an algorithm that collects the best rated hotels and then is reviewed ultimately by a human for approval. In this case the now permanently closed hotel was mistakenly awarded Trip Advisor's top hotel honor.

Trip Advisor Banned From Using Certain Words To Their Describe Reviews in the UK

In a landmark case Trip Advisor was BANNED from using the words “Reviews You Can Trust”,  “honest opinions” and “real travelers”.  After a 4 month review the Advertising Standards Authority found that it was possible to post non genuine content on Trip Advisor. 

The advertising watchdog found that reviews can be posted without any real verification. Trip Advisor UK may no longer make claims regarding that its reviews are honest or even from real people. 

Trip Advisor Can Ruin Your Vcation

Trip Advisor Fake Reviews Are Big Business

With an easy security system to bypass, many companies have made big bucks from selling fake Trip Advisor reviews. Some companies hide the fact they generate fake reviews for their clients by calling themselves “reputation management specialists”. Others are a little less obscure with websites where you can buy fake reviews instantly and have them delivered in 24 hours. 

How to Protect Yourself From Trip Advisor Ruining Your Vacation

1. Only use hotel booking websites that get reviews from verified and paying customers such as Booking.com and Hotels.com

2. For restaurant reviews use a combination of reviews from Google, Yelp and Open Table

3. For tours and attractions its best to use a combination of Google reviews and Trip Advisor

4. Do your homework. Make sure there aren't large discrepancies between review sites

 

Still Love Trip Advisor? How To Spot Fake Reviews

Honestly I will still use Trip Advisor when I can't find the information I need ANYWHERE else. If you are going to use it, make sure to have a good grasp on how to weed out restaurants, tours and hotels that are being propped up by fake reviews. Here is how to spot them. 

1. It's the authors ONLY review. This is the first sign that the review does not have validity

2. The author uses words normal people don't use often such as “succulent” “mouth-watering” “sumptuous” and “unparalleled”

3. Exclamation Points!!!!!! 

4. Life Stories – Fake reviews more often come from a first person narrative explaining the whole trip and travel partners rather than boring details like the bed side plugs that are the most useful. 

Let us know below what websites you use to check reviews and book your vacations


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