by Consumer Affairs Editor and Katie Morley, The Telegraph, November 9, 2017
TripAdvisor has started displaying warning signs against hotels where sex assaults have occurred, it has announced.
A red banner will now run across the top of TripAdvisor listings, cautioning tourists that the accommodation has had a case reported and urging travellers to conduct further checks before booking.
The move comes after the travel website was accused of deleting posts about serious crimes against tourists visiting Mexico.
Last week, it emerged that a woman had been fighting for seven years to have her TripAdvisor posts reinstated after she claimed she was raped at a resort.
She said TripAdvisor had initially refused to post a review in which she claimed she described the incident. The website had allegedly deleted earlier previous warnings about the resort, on the basis that the reviews were not “family friendly.”
TripAdvisor will issue the badge when it believes there is a current health, safety or discrimination issue relevant to travellers, as reported on by either our traveller community or by news media.
The badges will remain on TripAdvisor for up to three months but if the issues persist it could extend the duration of the badge. But hotel experts warned the badges could be hugely damaging to hotels who had false or unsubstantiated claims made against them.
Russell Kett, a hotels expert at HVS, said: "Hotels will get worried about this if customers are giving them red flags them with no grounds. Libellous reports made against hotels could be very detrimental to businesses.
"If unsubstantiated allegations are made, TripAdvisor should remove the hotel in question from the website all together. If proof that an attack has happened comes to light then they could apply the red flag."
A TripAdvisor spokesman said: "We have decided to introduce a new ‘badge’ notification that will be displayed on a business’ listing page when an issue relating to that business is reported on by credible media sources, such as issues around health and safety or allegations of discrimination.
The aim of the badge is to alert travellers to issues they may want to more fully research outside of TripAdvisor. Development of the badge is complete. We’ve made the decision to badge several hotels in Mexico, most recently reported on within the press for having issues with tainted alcohol and sexual assault."
This article was written by Consumer Affairs Editor and Katie Morley from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].