Users who browse hotel listings on TripAdvisor will notice a new digital badge, which the travel website will use to point out hotels where a sexual assault took place. The decision follows media reports accusing the company of deleting comments or reviews on the grounds that they were not “family-friendly” or were “off topic.” The company, through a committee, will now make decisions through TripAdvisor community comments and news reports about incidents.
TripAdvisor’s decision to use a digital badge will probably receive pushback from hotels and resorts who advertise and pay for high placement on the website. However, TripAdvisor ultimately decided that maintaining user trust and promoting the safety of its millions of users is a higher priority. Company spokesman Kevin Carter told the New York Times that the badges will not be removed after a complaint.
“These badges will remain on TripAdvisor for up to three months. However, if the issues persist we may extend the duration of the badge. These badges are intended to be informative, not punitive. We want consumers to see good and bad reviews of businesses.”
An investigative report by the Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel, which revealed horrific stories from some Mexico resorts. One such incident includes a college student who died under mysterious circumstances. The report also suggest one TripAdvisor user said she reported being served tainted alcohol, but her review was deleted after being called “hearsay.” Other users claim TripAdvisor deleted their comments, which included first-hand accounts of rapes or other injuries caused by hotel resort employees.