tripadvisor slogan4
1135 days ago
 

TripAdvisor quietly changes site titles, promise of trustworthy reviews watered down

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.

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But this has now changed to: “Reviews from our community.”

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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.

TripAdvisor says:

“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.

 
 
Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has also 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 and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.

 

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  1. TripAdvisor axes controversial Dirtiest Hotels PR campaign | China Hotel E-Marketing Strategies

    [...] apparent maturing and change of emphasis around its PR activity follows a subtle change to its on-site messaging in September 2011 from “reviews you can trust” to “reviews from our [...]

     
  2. John R.

    How do you monitor the credibility of reviews? Interesting question.

    I believe Yelp may present a viable solution. Prohibit anonymous reviews in the first place, and allow the business the opportunity to respond. This allows for both sides of the table to have their say, or at least for the biz to try to make right, while making it less appealing for the hit-and-run type of review.

    GoStayPlay.com [full-disclosure: I'm co-founder] allows its members, and non-members for the time being, to submit ratings of different travel deals. While bashing or not a travel deal is not the same as a retaurant or hotel, we do intend to limit rating capabilites to members.

    The whole point being, in our case, that members should also be the ones to benefit from the top rated deals by other members. Plus, they not only get to see the top rated deals, they get those best suited to their background and interests, i.e. top rated deals by singles for singles, families, etc.

     
  3. Doug Stanfield

    As a small business owner we found that comments directed to us were usually “nasty people who wanted to write nasty things”, anonymously, or so they thought, so like everyone else in our area we “arranged” to have several good reviews written for us to bring our rating up! Perhaps if contributors were required to supply their real name then they might be a little more honest and a little less scurrilous.

     
  4. Brian Leonard

    I agree with Tim, I remember when TripAdvisor’s slogan was “World’s Most Trusted Travel Reviews” or something of that nature. It was right below their logo. That was removed months, maybe even over a year ago. Sounds like they don’t even trust in their own product.

     
  5. Andre

    Tripadvisor just don’t surprise us anymore. They have been and will keep on doing whatever they like, it seems. At eezeer.com we strive for the most honest, reliable and rapid travel information so you can understand our distress.

    Great comment by Timothy O’Neil-Dunne too

     
  6. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    Sadly another nail in the coffin of trust.

    However perhaps the honesty of the approach is more appropriate. Too many people have being abusing the trust word for too long without getting called out on it. The loser ultimately is just that: a loss of consumer trust. And why do brands not get this?

    Beats me

     
 
 

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