This is the first time that I’m writing about something other than my travels on my blog. I’ve run into an issue with TripAdvisor, a site which I had been recommending to friends and colleagues for years. I’ll explain my issues with them and you can let me know what you think. Was I naive?
I use TripAdvisor a lot when I’m travelling and for many years I have been submitting reviews to TripAdvisor for restaurants, hotels, and attractions. I’ve always been a big fan and found that it was a very useful when planning a trip. I also thought that reviews on TripAdvisor were independent of the need to “purchase a listing” but just found out I was wrong.
I had a rental cottage Chalet Rose-et-Lys. I advertised on many sites and FlipKey was one of them. FlipKey is associated with TripAdvisor and I knew this. After reviewing the referrals I was receiving from FlipKey I decided that it was not the best site for me. I had many more referrals that result in bookings from the other sites on which I am listed which are more affordable. Meanwhile I had been encouraging clients to leave me a review on TripAdvisor. I had 5, 5 star reviews (see the text and the screen prints below).
Well, it seems that FlipKey is so closely associated to TripAdvisor that when I did not renew my listing with them they also removed all of my reviews on TripAdvisor.
So remember this: If you are booking a vacation and using TripAdvisor you are not getting reviews of rental properties in a specific area, you are getting reviews of rental properties that have paid TripAdvisor to list on FlipKey. When I’m on Booking.com or Hotels.com I know that the reviews that I am seeing are exclusively for the properties that you can book through them, I just thought that TripAdvisor was a review site more than a booking site.
If you own a vacation property and fall for the “Free FlipKey listing”, do not encourage your clients to leave reviews on TripAdvisor. FlipKey removed my TripAdvisor reviews but a Google search still shows them. If you then click on the link displayed by Google you do not find my reviews but listing for other cottages in the area. You are best to never take up the FlipKey “free 60 day listing” offer. From now on I will encourage my clients to leave reviews on Google reviews, or my favourite is to just write something nice in my cottage guest book. It is always the first thing I look at when I get to the cottage.
So, was I naive to think that reviews for my cottage would remain on TripAdvisor even if I don’t pay FlipKey for a listing? I will no longer be submitting reviews for the places I visit. According to TripAdvisor’s marketing emails to me I was in the top 20 % of reviewers and over 5000 people had read my reviews. If they can just remove reviews clients have left for me because I don’t pay them then the site is really quite meaningless.