What’s in it for me?
A handy guide helping to understand the impact of negative reviews on your property listing, especially on a leading, global platform like TripAdvisor. It aims to provide an honest outlook on the review removal process by highlighting clearly the circumstances under which a property is eligible to report a bad or negative review removal from this platform!
The hospitality industry has evolved a lot in the past few years with the introduction of tools such as online reviews, aimed at providing a level playing ground to both the guests and the hotels. Online platforms such as TripAdvisor provide the opportunity to the travelers to narrate their experiences both positive and negative. Being a travel behemoth and attracting about 884 million reviews (as of 2020), the Herculean popularity of TripAdvisor attracts an average of 390 million monthly unique visitors. It allows you to address these reviews which have become an integral part of the online ecosystem. Be it before booking a hotel or planning a trip, TripAdvisor reviews make about 86% of travelers more confident in making a booking decision for themselves.
Hence it is important for the properties to look prim and proper on a platform like TripAdvisor by maintaining a good reputation in the form of more positive reviews. As it is, negative or bad reviews are considered dreadful prospects for any business, and most of them shy away from responding to these. Lack of a proper strategy often leads hotels to blissfully ignore the bad reviews which unknowingly damages their reputation. Especially on a platform like TripAdvisor that accounts for so many user searches and property bookings on a daily basis, negative reviews can cost the hotels a lot. Like it or not, it can lead to a 70% loss of potential guests for a hotel. This is one of the major reasons for hotels to remove bad TripAdvisor reviews in the blink of an eye.
But is removing the reviews from TripAdvisor that easy and fast? Let’s find out more about this in the course of our research…
“How to get rid of bad TripAdvisor reviews?” is one of the most commonly searched or questioned phrases by the hoteliers. The short answer to this particular query is: only under specific circumstances. TripAdvisor will remove a bad review in case it directly violates their guidelines. TripAdvisor can also help remove a negative review (s) in case of an authentic property overhaul supported by genuine proof or evidence of the facelift. According to this online platform, if you doubt the authenticity of a review or regard it as “improper or fraudulent”, you can always report it for the removal.
Also, if the review is deemed to be improper, fraudulent or inappropriate, it is still better to respond to it as it takes time for TripAdvisor to assess the issue due to the daily influx, to get back to you. Again, you don’t want to leave a negative impression on the prospective travelers or other visitors looking at your online reviews before planning a stay by not replying. However, if the review fails to meet the guidelines, you should follow and implement the best practices for replying to negative reviews.
As mentioned already, TripAdvisor usually removes a negative or bad review in case it violates their guidelines. Hence to remove bad TripAdvisor reviews on your property, you first need to look through them carefully. The potential reasons for flagging the TripAdvisor reviews are as follows:
• Vulgar or profane language
• Secondhand information
• Intolerant language (includes religion, race, politics, or sexual orientation)
• Blackmail or bias (if anyone threatens with a negative in exchange for money or discount)
• Irrelevant information (for eg. wrong business)
• Violation of the TripAdvisor Guidelines
Some guests occasionally try to gain favor, discount or something else from the hotels in exchange for a threat of a negative review. TripAdvisor has a procedure in place to safeguard hoteliers from such conniving threats. It is advisable to report any form of written or verbal blackmail threat even before the review is submitted.
If your property has been recently renovated, TripAdvisor might remove some of the earlier reviews to provide your property a fresh start. However, you’ll be required to submit evidence of structural modifications such as installation of bathrooms or new guest rooms, complete overhaul of your property or alterations to the property among others to ask them to remove bad TripAdvisor reviews. Cosmetic changes such as curtains, furniture or new paint do not usually qualify as changes. As an evidence of renovation, TripAdvisor requires you to publish one of the following documents:
“Online press release with the publication’s letterhead documenting the renovation”
“Notarized copies of building/work permits”
“Notarized copies of the trades’ invoices for materials and labor”
“Notarized letter from city officials or Tourist Board verifying the scope of renovation and duration of the closure”
It is also advisable to post photos of the updated property on your TripAdvisor page while your approval is still under consideration. In the meantime, you can respond to the old reviews and make your guests feel heard.
Reviews on TripAdvisor need to be in adherence with a very specific set of TripAdvisor guidelines for reviews, which are as follows:
• Age requirement
• Submitted for an appropriate property
• Unique and Independent
• Written by actual travelers
• Standard email formatting and valid email address
(Source: TripAdvisor) ↓
“The email address associated with your account must be correct; we may need to contact you if there is a problem with your review.”
“No HTML tags and no excessive ALL CAPS, slang, formatting issues, repeated text, or typographic symbols.”
“Use the correct alphabet for the language in which you are writing. Do not transliterate into another alphabet.”
“Do not add unnecessary characters in order to reach the minimum character count for reviews.”
a. Biased negative reviews or review vandalism: These types of reviews are often published with the intention to inflict damage on the business and tarnish their virtual reputation or image. Yet another reason for such mischief is to lower the ranking of the targeted establishment on the search result pages. The sources can usually be of two types: a person or a group involved in the blackmailing of the business with the threat of abusing the right to post a negative review or it could be from a rival business looking to contain your growing prospects.
b. Paid reviews or review optimization: These are the types of reviews that are created by businesses when they accidentally or intentionally receive assistance from either a group/company with the intention to increase their ranking on TripAdvisor by flooding themselves with positive reviews.
c. Review boosting or biased positive reviews: These are the types of reviews that are usually positive or biased towards a particular business and are influenced or done by a person/group with ties to the business. It can also be a company insider such as the owner, a relative of a person who is associated with the business, or an employee among others. Review boosting also happens when illegal incentives are offered by businesses in exchange for positive reviews.
If you ever come across any such reviews on your listing, you can report them immediately to contact TripAdvisor through the Management Center page. The following steps can help you navigate through this:
Source: TripAdvisor ↓
○ Click on ‘Reviews’ at the top and select ‘Report a Review.’
○ Under “Please tell us what the issue is” click on ‘Report Fraud’ option.
○ Under “What do you want to do?” choose your issue type. Choices can be Blackmail Threat, Review Boosting, Review Vandalism, or Review Optimization.
○ You will have to answer two questions. These ask if the review was already posted and if this is the first time you filed a report of the incident.
○ Provide additional information about the reviewer (the month and year of their visit, name, and email address.)
○ Describe the event in detail and as clearly as possible in the text space provided.
Travelers have increasingly begun to depend on online reviews posted across various platforms such as TripAdvisor. As much as 89% of the consumers are not willing to book a hotel without going through reviews. However, establishments across the line are terrified of the prospect of negative reviews and do not have a proper mechanism in place to respond to them. One of these factors is the online reputation and presence, and online reviews are perhaps one of the clearest indicators of this factor. Online reputation is directly proportional to the quality and quantity of the reviews. Negative reviews are usually frowned upon by 87% of the businesses and they usually stay away from responding to them.
One of the methods employed or practiced by the hotels is their willingness to remove such bad reviews from reputed online platforms such as TripAdvisor. Apart from a sound strategy to effectively deal with negative reviews, the authenticity of the review and its potential to inflict damage on their reputation are some of the factors that lead to such a step. As per data, 62% of consumers surveyed said they would change their mind after reading 1-3 negative reviews. However, deleting reviews is not always a viable option for any organization with a listing on TripAdvisor as it does not allow its listed organizations to delete negative reviews from their page. Instead, listing managers can implement either of the following two options:
○ Flag the comment/review as fake
○ Respond to the issue raised by the consumer
Not responding to negative reviews often creates a bad impression on the disgruntled guests and keeps the prospective clients from booking the hotel. Hotels more often than not are unaware of the damage it stands to inflict on their reputation. Responding to customer reviews, especially a negative one is quintessential for any organization to not only survive but also build up a reputation and, in turn, encourage brand loyalty.
A change in perspective by the hotels can pave the way for an underlying opportunity that establishments are often unaware of. You can drastically improve your brand’s reputation by being genuine with your response and stop such instances from recurring. Customers are often sensitive and shall be dealt with accordingly. Therefore, responding to negative reviews usually go a long way towards resolving unwanted situations that have the potential to lead to a significant damage if not catered to. You should initiate the response mechanism by thanking your guests, apologize for their experience and be empathetic towards them. This projects a caring attitude and helps in mending your relationship with the guests.
Often people inquire about “how to edit a review on TripAdvisor?” The truth is one cannot really edit a review on TripAdvisor. If you manage to satisfy the demand of the disappointed customer, you can always ask for an updated review. Users usually do not have the option to enable them to edit TripAdvisor review once it is published. However, they do have the option of deleting their review and posting a new one based on their upgraded experience. At this particular point, the user is usually allowed to post a new listing as TripAdvisor primarily allows only one updated review per user.
○ Log in to TripAdvisor and go to the user profile.
○ Find the reviews to delete and click on the button with three dots on the review (top-right).
○ Click on ‘Delete’. After this, TripAdvisor will ask to confirm your delete request which can be done by clicking the button once more. Once done, you will receive an email confirming that the review has been removed.
“TripAdvisor review removed!”
We know you’d love to see these words flashing on your screen upon waking up one fine morning! It is estimated that TripAdvisor usually processes more than 10,000 reviews or feedback every day to remove a TripAdvisor review and it usually depends on the workload of their staff on how soon they can review reports. Reporting any particular review can usually take days or weeks to get through just as posting a review takes weeks to hours.
Bad reviews on TripAdvisor can stem from a lot of factors- some might be accurate, logical, and constructive while others might be conniving, threatening, and out and out false. Removing a review from TripAdvisor might not be an easy task and might take some time as the site processes over 10,000 reviews per day. But with the right technique and patience, your business will surely see the light of the day in the form of more positive reviews. In fact, one of the best ways to combat negative reviews is to strive for getting more positive ones. Hence it is important to invest in a good reputation management solution that will help ease your worries to a great extent.
Since most of the negativity in the reviews and user’s perspective could be altered, disintegrated and perhaps dissolved through a proper management response, GuestTouch ensures that you respond to each of your reviews timely, professionally and appropriately, with the required care and attention. Our expert team uses the smart- prompt feature that draws from data to draft powerful and unique responses to each review. You can review & approve the responses seamlessly, leave it to the experts, and auto-approve any responses. In short, you’re in full control of every response.
Although negative reviews can’t be removed, there are a few that may violate TripAdvisor policies. If you feel a review does that, you can leave it to us and we’ve got you covered!