TripAdvisor dips toe into world of verified reviews via collection service for partners
Interesting developments at TripAdvisor with news that is has unveiled a system to allow third parties to collect reviews from customers which will then be flagged on the main site.
The service is being launched in conjunction with European hotel booking service EasyToBook (recently bought by the Travix mega-group under BCD Holdings), which has replaced its existing review system in favour of the TripAdvisor-run system.
This is a significant evolution of TripAdvisor’s user review model in that it is overseeing the entire review process on behalf of third parties, in this case an OTA.
Review Collection Solution will sit behind the customer’s review service, in this case a follow-up email which EasyToBook to sends to customers after they have stayed at a property.
The email will be co-branded by EasyToBook and TripAdvisor and will direct users to a form allowing them to complete their review of the property in the usual way.
Reviews will then be featured on both websites. On TripAdvisor they will be displayed with a note to say it was collected via EasyToBook and include the member name.
Whilst TripAdvisor has shown reviews collected by partners before (such as an agreement it has with Accor Hotels), this is the first that it has overseen the entire collection process where the customised service via CRM has been used.
Vice president of partnerships at TripAdvisor, Severine Philardeau, says:
“This move marks a shift in the way that Easytobook collect reviews following guest stays and will enable potential customers to make better informed decisions based on the insights and ratings of TripAdvisor’s entire community of travellers. We believe this will be a pioneering initiative for the rest of the hospitality industry.”
What TripAdvisor doesn’t say is that this also makes a shift away from the way it collects reviews itself, by using its own technology to capture opinions from customers that have actually stayed at the property, potentially removing the element of doubt many critics have over TripAdvisor in that it has no way of verifying if a member had actually stayed at a hotel.
It seems obvious that hotels would want reviews to appear on the user review giant with a mark to say that the comment from an actual customer was collected and verified by TripAdvisor.
The move comes just a month after a UK advertising regulator told TripAdvisor that it must stop claiming reviews are genuine and trusted.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.