Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Tripadvisor to mark hotels where sexual assaults have been reported

Media Center | Press Releases - TripAdvisor TripAdvisor now has a digital badge to mark hotels where sexual assault was reported
Jo Caldwell | 10 November, 2017, 00:34

Based on news reports as well as comments from the TripAdvisor community, the warnings are also created to identify health and safety issue, said a company spokesman, Kevin Carter. "Accordingly, you may wish to perform additional research for information about this property when making your travel plans".

When asked about the message's language, TripAdvisor spokesman Kevin Carter said the label is a first version of the badge, which the company considers consistent with other examples in the market.

Additionally, TripAdvisor's highest recognition, the 2017 Traveler's Choice award badge, remains on clear display directly below the red message, which could add to potential confusion or perhaps downplay the intended severity of the new badge.

"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 reads.

The new approach to warning guests about safety concerns comes after The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last week that TripAdvisor had removed forum posts and reviews warning about rape and injuries at several resorts in Mexico. TripAdvisor apologized and said the repeated removals were due to a policy that only permitted "family-friendly" language and content, according to TheNYT.

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Despite the warning at the top of its TripAdvisor page, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya resort is rated 4.5 out of 5 by reviewers, who rank it the fourth-best hotel in the area. Love alleged that a hotel security guard dragged her into the bushes and sexually assaulted her.

"These badges are meant to be informative, not punitive", he continued. "'No, we're not going to call the police, ma'am, '" she recalled in her conversation with the outlet.

And, he said, the company has "apologized to the victim for her experience".

The company said it is also revising the way it informs consumers that their reviews and forum posts were deleted for containing hearsay. 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.

This is a temporary measure, following a backlash the company received when it was accused of repeatedly removing a review in which a woman stated she was raped at a hotel. The forum post has since been republished by TripAdvisor. This incident, along with the onslaught of sexual assault allegations in Hollywood following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, "served as a wakeup call to TripAdvisor", says travel analyst Henry H. Harteveldt, prompting the site to add the badge and a communications feature that will allow the site to explain why a comment was rejected and for the user to "make edits and resubmit their review".

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