Traveler Safety on Tripadvisor: What Business Owners Need to Know
As all travel businesses already know, safety is an incredibly important issue in the tourism industry. Providing travelers with valuable, timely safety information gives them more confidence to explore the world, which is in the long-term benefit of businesses.
Like many of you, Tripadvisor has been working on this issue for years, but we know we can do more. So, we’re doubling down on our efforts to help travelers find and share safety information during every step of their journey by taking a phased approach to introducing new safety-focused features and policies to the site.
The first of these changes is a new “safety review filter,” which will allow travelers to filter for reviews posted about safety incidents on a property’s listing. The second is a notification that will be placed on the safety reviews themselves to make it easier for travelers to distinguish these from other reviews.
The majority of businesses will not see a safety review on their page for someone to filter, as these cases of reviews with extreme safety issues are rarer. For example, in the last year alone, of the tens of millions of reviews and opinions posted on Tripadvisor, there were approximately 1,000 reviews posted about sexual assault or egregious sexual misconduct. While a relatively small number, this is critical information for travelers who want to be safe while traveling.
Businesses around the world know their local regions, neighborhoods, and properties better than anyone and are in a unique position to help travelers have a positive and safe experience. It’s our hope that businesses like yours, along with the larger tourism industry, will continue to work with us at Tripadvisor as we join efforts to make this vital traveler safety initiative a larger priority across tourism.
Here’s what you need to know as a business owner about how Tripadvisor informs and highlights critical health and safety information on the site.
The safety review filter
The safety review filter allows travelers to easily find reviews mentioning safety at any business where reviews about safety are posted. The safety filter appears in the “Reviews” section for all applicable accommodations, restaurants and experiences listings on Tripadvisor — with airlines, rentals and cruises rolling out later this year. These reviews will be surfaced globally, across all Tripadvisor sites worldwide and in all 28 languages.
As of launch, we have looked at all the reviews currently on our site going back one year (2018), and have tagged any that include incidents of sexual assault, or egregious sexual misconduct by a staff member.
We will tag any new reviews posted to the site that describes sexual assault, physical assault, drugging and death, and over the next few months are also going back and tagging reviews in those categories from the previous year.
Reviews about safety incidents will also include an “in-review safety notice.” The notice will appear at the top of each review that contains safety information to make it easier for travelers to distinguish these from other reviews. The safety notice will appear on these reviews for as long as the review is posted on the site.
The safety filter will only appear if a business has any reviews containing safety information on their listing. Those without such reviews will not have this filter since there are no reviews to surface.
Criteria for a safety review
Reviews that contain safety information and incidents related to sexual assault, egregious sexual misconduct by a staff member, physical assault, drugging, and death will be tagged as a safety review.
Though these reviews and other negative reviews do appear on the site, it’s a small percentage of reviews on the total, and it’s important to remember that in 2018:
- The average Tripadvisor review rating was 4.22
- More than eight of ten Tripadvisor reviews (81%) were submitted with a rating of 4 or 5
- Only 5.7% of Tripadvisor reviews rated the business they were reviewing with a score of 1 (Terrible)
Responding to allegations of safety incidents
We encourage owners to read the review and talk with your staff to understand the situation. Then, respond appropriately through the Management Response feature on Tripadvisor. To do so, register as an owner for free at www.tripadvisor.com/Owners. Once registered, you’ll have access to the Management Center and can begin responding to reviews immediately.
We encourage owners to respond thoughtfully and factually and tailor the response not only to the individual reviewer but also to the larger Tripadvisor community and future guests. By providing a thoughtful response to traveler reviews, you’re showing future customers that you care — and they’ll appreciate that. We know that travelers want to choose a business where they will feel safe and have a safe experience, and we also know that one bad incident doesn’t mean that every customer will have the same experience. You can help a traveler feel more confident about deciding to visit your business by sharing what actions you’ve taken to address any situation where a customer has felt unsafe and to show the world that you took appropriate action to remove any threat.
Reporting incorrectly categorized or suspicious reviews
If you feel a review has been incorrectly categorized as a safety issue please use the “report a problem” button on the site or app. When submitting the claim please include as much supporting evidence and detail as possible to assist in the process. These cases will be re-evaluated manually by our Tripadvisor moderation team. You can expect a follow-up email, with the result of the investigation on the disputed reviews within 24 hours.
If the moderation team finds the review to be in compliance with our guidelines the review will remain on the site, as will the safety review filter. Even if a business proves they have addressed the situation (e.g., fired the offending employee) the review will remain on the site, since it still meets our guidelines. In these situations, we encourage businesses to still publicly address any allegations through a Management Response.
If you have an account manager, please know that they will not be able to escalate concerns or issues. We take review fraud and traveler safety extremely seriously and therefore commercial relationships are kept entirely separate from these issues.