TripAdvisor Adds Warnings For Hotels with Reports of Sexual Assault

Jon Howard
November 10, 2017

- One of the travelers accusing website TripAdvisor of scrubbing first-hand accounts of rape, blackouts, and other injuries blasted the company Wednesday for its response to her, even as TripAdvisor rolled out a series of vague warning "badges" on the pages of some Mexican resorts listed on the site.

TripAdvisor had said it had apologised to the woman and has now published her review. "As always, we encourage consumers to do additional research outside of TripAdvisor". Staff refused to call the police, and TripAdvisor deleted her report of the incident from its site because it wasn't "family friendly".

"When we were made aware that this user's post had been removed, we republished it in line with our current policy and have apologized to the victim for her experience", Kaufer wrote in a November 3 LinkedIn post. Love alleged that a hotel security guard dragged her into the bushes and sexually assaulted her.

It's unclear what guidelines the "employee committee" will use to determine which comments or reports warrant adding a warning badge to a destination's page. "These badges are meant to be informative, not punitive", TripAdvisor spokesperson said.

The three resorts where sexual assault was reported were: Grand Velas Riviera Maya, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya and the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo.

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At least two other women reported being assaulted at the same resort after Love's TripAdvisor warning had been removed.

"Those were just the first three", Brian Hoyt, a TripAdvisor spokesman, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. TripAdvisor replaced the comments with a generic explanation that the posts were "inappropriate" and "off-topic". Last week, TripAdvisor said it issued an apology to Love for deleting her post.

As part of its new policy, TripAdvisor will try to be more clear about why reviews are rejected. "So, our new email communications will clearly articulate the phrase or sentences that are in violation of our policy, inviting the reviewer to make edits and resubmit their review", the TripAdvisor rep told The News.

The warnings state: "TripAdvisor has been made aware of recent media reports or events concerning this property which may not be reflected in reviews found on this listing".

The Journal Sentinel found that an untold number of "trusted community members" have the ability to remove forum posts and that "destination experts" - members who provide advice on travel spots - can be local tour guides, property owners and have other financial interests in attracting tourists. "We recognized then that our previous guidelines went too far in preventing information like this from being shared", the statement reads.

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