News from the Daily Telegraph travel section on Friday shows that the debate over the authenticity of TripAdvisor reviews is quickly coming to a head." />

The TripAdvisor authenticity and anonymity debate continues

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As discussions continue over how TripAdvisor will react to potential defamation claims from hoteliers, it remains to be seen whether the website will change how reviews are posted.  I have to say that I am a staunch supporter of TripAdvisor.  While I understand the concerns of hoteliers on the receiving end of a (possibly rare) bad review that leaves a lasting impression, most consumers nowadays are sophisticated enough to read beyond the top of the TripAdvisor list, take in a sample of comments from those who have stayed at a hotel previously and then make an informed decision about whether to book.  Certainly, TripAdvisor is only one of the resources I use before making a hotel booking. 

It is arguable that TripAdvisor may do itself some favours by requiring proof of purchase before allowing reviews to be posted.  This is the approach of Feefo, the specialist in retail reviews.  The downside of this approach is it may deter people from bothering to post an online review at all.  The more people that use websites like TripAdvisor, the more chance the hotel has of getting a decent, rounded, cross-section of reviews about their offerings.

TripAdvisor's new support line for disgruntled hoteliers is not the end of the debate.  Indeed, it has probably just started another.  Perhaps it will take a successful defamation claim for TripAdvisor to be persuaded to make a radical overhaul of its site.  If so, there must be a way of balancing the need to allow genuine defamation claims with a genuine need for authentic online hotel and holiday reviews.

Chris Deacon

Solicitor - Claims Abroad team

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