Curious switch on TripAdvisor in recent weeks with the user review giant quietly altering the wording against reviews on its hotel pages.
Previously the section on a property page containing user generated content was titled “Reviews you can trust”, before listing the often hundreds of comments from members.
But this has now changed to: “Reviews from our community.”
For the moment, “Reviews you can trust” remains on the restaurant and destination activity pages.
The change could, of course, just be part of a site-wide freshening up.
Since the older grab was taken in April this year, there have clearly been a few design tweaks, such as a softening of the font and content modules, and changes to the navigation and other parts of the layout.
But equally, altering the slogan to switch emphasis from the quality of the content (“reviews you can trust”) to where the reviews originated (“reviews from our community”) marks an interesting switch.
Such a definite shift in language could be purely coincidental, but earlier this month TripAdvisor discovered it would be facing an investigation from the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority following a complaint from reputation management consultancy Kwikchex.
One of the major elements to the complaint is that TripAdvisor has misled consumers by claiming it has genuine reviews from real travellers.
Could this be a gradual watering down of the language used on the site ahead of the ASA probe in the UK and a complaint lodged with the Federal Trade Commission in the US?
The change is quite subtle, especially to users, but with regulators clearly now hovering over the user review giant’s every move, making such a switch to the language could be a sign that TripAdvisor is taking note.
“As with all marketing messaging, the wording used on the TripAdvisor site is constantly evolving to reflect different aspects of the business. The ‘Reviews from our Community’, which is now visible on the hotel pages, is also part of our ever-evolving communication efforts, this time highlighting our commitment to our all-important community.
“This evolution was carried out across all domains gradually from June to August this year, first appearing in the UK on 27 June 2011.”
An official confirms other parts of the site still lead on the “trust” factor.
NB: Worth noting that the TripAdvisor had already dropped its previous tagline “Get the truth then go…” around 12 to 18 months ago.