TripAdvisor adds badge to properties where sexual assault has occurred

Javier Howell
November 10, 2017

Popular traveling and hotel booking site TripAdvisor just launched a new feature that will place a symbol next to hotels and resorts that have been identified as locations where sexual assault has taken place.

The company apologized last week for removing Love's posts, and said it did so because they contained "hearsay".

TripAdvisor issued a public apology a week ago to Kristie Love, 35, of Dallas, after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that TripAdvisor had repeatedly deleted her 2010 forum post about the Paraiso Maya resort, where she said she had been raped by a security guard. TripAdvisor subsequently apologized for deleting the comments and said its guidelines had flagged the comments for various offenses, like not adhering to "family-friendly language" or "hearsay". Other users claim TripAdvisor deleted their comments, which included first-hand accounts of rapes or other injuries caused by hotel resort employees. Company spokesman Kevin Carter noted that if users continue to report incidents, the badge may stay live longer.

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. The warning badge cautions customers to "perform additional research for information" about the properties.

Three resorts in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico have already received the badges: the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya, and the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo.

Businesses will be "badged for a minimum period of three months, and we hope it will be a catalyst ... to change their ways", Hoyt said.

"The aim of the badge is to alert travellers to issues they may want to more fully research outside of TripAdvisor". The badges will not include the words "sexual assault", but will encourage customers to beware, similar to notices for fake reviews or recent violent incidents.

TripAdvisor is also rolling out a new policy on communicating with users about why reviews or forum posts are rejected.

Recently, we reported on a case where a woman contacted TripAdvisor about whether to book a hotel that had a sexual assault warning attached to it. "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", Carter said. "We'll be monitoring news coverage moving forward".

The Journal Sentinel found that an untold number of "trusted community members" have the ability to remove forum posts and that "destination experts" - members who provide advice on travel spots - can be local tour guides, property owners and have other financial interests in attracting tourists.

Other reports by Insurance News

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