Now that TripAdvisor has increasingly become a hotel booking site, with 235,000 properties shown that guests can book right on TripAdvisor through its Instant Booking feature, it could become increasingly feasible for the company to begin offering user reviews after they completed their hotel stays.
But TripAdvisor, which has been criticized in some quarters for fake reviews and hotels or their competitors trying to game the system, is declining to begin posting verified reviews.
Asked about the possibility of TripAdvisor offering verified reviews, spokesperson Kevin Carter states: “We have considered all of the verification options out there, and have elected to use our current model for one simple reason: The volume of opinions provides for the most in-depth coverage of consumer experience, and it is the model that consumers prefer.”
“We have a lot of reviews [250 million] on TripAdvisor and some are tied to a transaction and others aren’t,” Carter says. “This is because we believe that every experience counts, not just the experience of the person who paid the bill.”
Lots of the online travel agencies, from Expedia to Priceline, only allow customers to post hotel reviews after they completed a stay booked through their respective sites.
TripAdvisor previously exclusively referred hotel shoppers on TripAdvisor sites to complete their booking on hotel and online travel agency sites. But with Instant Booking, hotels such as Accor, Best Western and soon Marriott, as well as online travel agencies Getaroom and Tingo, partnered with TripAdvisor to offer hotel booking on TripAdvisor sites.
It would be out of the question for TripAdvisor to abandon the review model that propelled it to its current heights, but some kind of hybrid system, meaning verified reviews sitting alongside reviews that aren’t necessarily verified, is likely more of a possibility these days because TripAdvisor is closer to the transaction through Instant Booking.
But TripAdvisor has decided not to take advantage of the verified review option.