Spotting fake reviews on Trip Advisor or on any review site can be easy or could be very difficult given that it is becoming widespread. The only bonus is that Trip advisor is becoming well known for this behaviour amongst the travelling community and Google etc and is/has been lambasted for such.
I have recently returned from a two week holiday at an abysmal hotel in Tunisia. My wife booked it primarily based on the reviews and rating on Trip Advisor. I don’t tend to read reviews at all so went on my wife’s say so.
Once at the resort and having experienced the place for myself, room, food, location, staff etc and witnessing the lengths that the hotel staff go to for acquiring good reviews I decided to write one myself on my return and post it to Trip Advisor.
I first read the reviews and could clearly see which ones had been written by the staff. The ones that mention the animation team by name and blow too much smoke. The ones that are posted via mobile phone by someone using a made up name who only seems to have visited this one place. The ones that follow a not so good review with 5 or 6 glowing reviews.
I wrote a no holds barred, honest and helpful review with a reading family spending hard earned money in mind an referred to the misinformation being given about this hotel and the tactics employed by the staff who are clearly writing some of those reviews fraudulently by Trip Advisor's own policy. Trip Advisor didn't like my open, honest and frank review and blocked that review due to the fact that I was ‘too’ honest and frank about the hotel staff activities of offering free WI-FI to guests who wrote a glowing review or who spent their time sat by the pool with the young female guests using mobile phones to dictate glowing reviews for that guest. I witnessed and heard this happening and guests where quite open in discussing it too. Totally unethical and totally against Trip Advisors rules. Trip Advisor’s response to me was that they cannot allow a review referring to activities of fraud to be posted!! WHAT IS TRIP ADVISOR FOR??
I have subsequently directed Trip Advisor to a specific review written by a 15 year old girl who we spent two weeks with, who was approached by a member of the animation team from the resort who proceeded to write that particular review for her and post it via mobile phone from the edge of the hotel pool. The IP address would be very clear! I also suggested that trip advisor block IP address from resorts in an effort to prevent this from happening.
Trip Advisor are aware of this specific incident and have so far done absolutely nothing about that review and it is still on the site.
No credibility whatsoever for Trip Advisor, who appear to be more interested in the money it makes from the listings rather than the travellers and guests it purports to help.
My advice……avoid using Trip Advisor, watch them sink and then perhaps find an alternative is the only solution.
I am more than prepared to divulge the resort in question if requested.