Learn how to collect, respond, and manage the reviews of your restaurant on Tripadvisor.
How Tripadvisor Review Guidelines are Changing in Response to COVID-19During these unprecedented times, we're making sure reviews on our site are accurate, reliable, and representative of your business.
We’re Here to Help
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the travel and hospitality sector in immediate and far-reaching ways. We know many business owners are trying to decide how best to navigate these unprecedented challenges, and we share your concerns.
Please read more about the resources we are introducing for owners here.
Why is My Business Still Receiving Reviews?
We know that many restaurants have seen a significant decrease in customers, or have had to close their doors altogether, as a result of the global pandemic. Even if your business has temporarily closed or switched to a delivery-only service, your customers can continue to submit reviews of their guest experience at or with your business, as long as that experience took place within the twelve months prior to submission. You will also be able to submit Management Responses for those reviews — which allow you to share updates about the latest conditions at your restaurant.
We believe now more than ever it is important to provide a platform for customers to share their experiences and for businesses to be able to share their responses about what’s happening on the ground. Reviews and their accompanying responses provide transparency, create a level-playing field for businesses large and small, and can serve as an incredibly powerful marketing tool for restaurateurs who consistently deliver great value and high standards of service.
During this period, we will continue to utilize our 20+ years’ experience in moderating reviews. Our system and moderation processes remain fully operational, even as our teams work remotely.
All review submissions are checked by our review analysis system, and any problematic content is being routed to our team of content specialists for further investigation, as per our normal processes. You can read more about our review analysis system here.
How Review Guidelines are Changing
We are introducing a number of adjustments to our review guidelines and moderation procedures in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. These changes are aimed at ensuring our members use the Tripadvisor platform responsibly:
- We will remove any content that encourages people to ignore government guidelines or restrictions
- We will remove any content that discourages people from seeking medical assistance or testing, or promotes dubious medical advice or misinformation
- We will remove any review that criticizes an individual business for being closed at this time
- We are banning racially insensitive content that refers to the COVID-19 virus as the ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus’. Such references are unnecessarily divisive during what is a global pandemic that requires united action from all nations and people, and any reviews or forum posts using such terminology will be removed. Reviews naming the virus must use official World Health Organisation terminology (such as Coronavirus, or COVID-19).
In line with our existing posting guidelines, reviews that only describe the delivery itself, rather than the food or business that provided it, will not be allowed. If your business has received such a review, you can report it to our team of content specialists by using the Management Centre.Last Updated: 6 April 2020
The Ultimate Guide to Responding to Restaurant ReviewsWhether you have one or a few hundred, reviews play an important role in your business and your ranking on Tripadvisor. Download this free eBook to learn all you possibly need to know about reviews on Tripadvisor.
Learn the Ins and Outs of Responding to Restaurant Reviews
Did you know that reviews play a major role in where customers choose to eat? Or that a manager’s response could change a guest’s perception of a restaurant? We’ve interviewed countless owners and compiled some of our favourite best practices and real-world inspiration for positive reviews, negative reviews, and everything in between.
Knowing how to respond to reviews is a great way to build trust, rapport, and loyalty with your customers. It is also a great tool for showing your guests what your hospitality is all about.
In this comprehensive eBook, we will show you:
- How to effectively respond to reviews
- How to create management responses that show guests you care
- How to build a strong online reputation
Take Control of Your Online Reputation with Tripadvisor Review HubYour customers are looking for you online. Do you know what the conversation is about your brand? Tripadvisor Review Hub can help.
Attract New Customers
Since 91% of consumers say that reading restaurant reviews matter when choosing a place to eat,* it’s important to pay attention to what your customers are saying about you online. Not just for the experiences of past customers, but for future customers who may be looking for a restaurant just like yours.
With Tripadvisor Review Hub, it’s easy. Once you connect your accounts from Google, Facebook, and more, you’ll be able to see how and where customers talk about you online all in one place. From there, you can engage with your customers by responding to reviews and more — all from within our interactive dashboard. The more you engage, the more likely you’ll attract more diners and build a strong reputation.
Extend Your Hospitality Online
When diners come to your restaurant, they’re interested in more than food. They’re interested in the experience — how everything about your restaurant comes together to make up your hospitality. When you engage with your customers online, you’re extending that hospitality.
With Tripadvisor Review Hub, you can make sure your online presence reflects your hospitality.
Improve Your Customer Experience
With Tripadvisor Review Hub, you’ll see a snapshot of your ratings across multiple platforms. Plus, explore deeper trends in your review feedback — so you can see what’s working and where you can make the customer experience even better.
What Does It Cost?
Tripadvisor Review Hub is a subscription-based product. We offer flexible plans that suit your needs on a monthly or annual basis. For full information on our pricing and plans, click here.
Still have questions? Learn more here.
*Source: 2019 Tripadvisor Power of Reviews StudyLast Updated: 16 December 2019
How to Set Up Direct Messaging from DinersIn addition to leaving a public review on Tripadvisor, diners can include feedback shared directly with you in your Tripadvisor inbox. Here’s how to set up and receive direct messages from diners.
What Is Direct Messaging?
Diners can now send you a direct message in addition to leaving a public review. They might offer a specific piece of feedback they’d rather not share publicly, mention a staff member by name, or add some additional context about their review that they want you to know. Direct messages will not appear on your public Tripadvisor listing — it’s simply a way for you to receive additional feedback about your restaurant.
From there, you can continue the conversation via your inbox. This response won’t be posted on your public Tripadvisor listing as a Management Response would.
Setting Up Direct Messaging
If you're the only owner associated with your location, you will automatically be set up to receive direct messages from diners. If there are multiple owners, one person will be assigned as the point of contact. Since only one person from a given restaurant can respond at a time, so be sure to discuss with your staff who is the best to field these responses. If you change your mind, don’t worry — just have the new point of contact follow these steps below.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to setting up a new point of contact:
- You’ll receive this message only if you’ve first claimed your Tripadvisor listing — it’s easy and free to do so here.
- Once you’ve claimed your listing, log in to the Management Centre. You’ll see a section titled “Messaging Settings” under the “Business Details” section on the homepage.
- Click the “Turn on direct messaging” button and check the box to indicate that you are the point of contact for all direct messages from diners.
If you’ve turned off Tripadvisor’s private messaging through your Tripadvisor inbox, you’ll need to go to your profile settings and turn it back on to be able to receive these messages. Click the “Go to settings” button to do so.
Once you’ve turned on direct messaging, you should see your name — or the name of one of your staff members — as the “Point of Contact” under “Messaging Settings.”
If another member of your team is the point of contact, you can change it at any time to yourself by clicking their name and then checking the box to indicate that you are the point of contact.
To see and respond to your direct messages, click on the inbox icon on the top right hand corner of the Management Centre. Learn more about our tips for responding to your direct messages here.Last Updated: 3 May 2019
How This Restaurant Created One of the Best Burgers in France Offering gourmet burgers with fresh, local ingredients, King Marcel grew from a small shop in Lyon to a chain poised to disrupt France’s quick bites scene.
Welcome to King Marcel, France
Few culinary challenges exist that the French cannot perfect. A burger is no exception. That’s just what CEO Chrisophe San Miguel of King Marcel Group set out to do. Starting as a humble burger shop in Lyon in 2013, King Marcel has now grown to multiple locations with more than 70 employees across the country.
But scale hasn’t slowed down the quality. King Marcel’s rue de Montmartre location in Paris has received over 850 reviews, averaging a 4.5 out of 5.0 rating, and received a Certificate of Excellence in 2017. Tripadvisor also named King Marcel the 4th best burger in France in 2018.
The Challenge: Driving Repeat Customers
With such impressive growth, it’s important to maintain consistently high quality. Says San Miguel, “Our aim is simple, but ambitious: to ensure the same quality of service and a perfect product from the first to the last customer, every day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”
That’s no easy task. To make sure their product is always up to standard, employees at King Marcel carefully monitor their online reputation. It’s especially important as burgers have become more popular in France.
“Our objective is to remain a beloved and [popular] brand for all of our customers,” says San Miguel. “For this, we must constantly reinvent ourselves, to continue to bring them back.”
How They Use Tripadvisor
That’s where Tripadvisor comes in. To maintain consistency and drive repeat visitors, King Marcel uses reviews to listen to customer feedback, make changes, and offer an online touchpoint for their hospitality.Our objective is to remain a beloved and [popular] brand for all of our customers. For this, we must constantly reinvent ourselves, to continue to bring them back....
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
Everyone receives negative reviews. Here’s how to respond to negative reviews of your restaurant without losing your cool....
Responding to Direct Messages on Tripadvisor In addition to leaving a public review on Tripadvisor, diners can include feedback shared only with the owner or manager of the restaurant’s Tripadvisor listing. Here’s a guide to receiving and responding to direct messages on Tripadvisor.
Introducing Direct Messaging
When a diner writes a review on Tripadvisor, they now have the option to include a private message directly to you. This may be a specific piece of feedback, a special shout-out to a rockstar staff member, or some context around their review that may help you act on the feedback. You’ll be able to continue the conversation with the diner to extend your hospitality beyond when they leave your restaurant.
You’ll receive this message only if you’ve first claimed your Tripadvisor listing — it’s easy and free to do so here.
The Difference Between Direct Messages and Public Reviews
Direct messages are 1:1 conversations between you and the diner. They are not attached to a bubble rating and do not impact your Tripadvisor ranking. The message will not appear on your public Tripadvisor listing. It’s simply a way for you to receive additional feedback on your restaurant.
Anyone who leaves a direct message also writes a review. The review is public, attached to a bubble rating, and impacts your Tripadvisor ranking. The review and your Management Response will be posted to your Tripadvisor page for anyone to see.
Responding to Direct Messages...
Always Do These 5 Things When Responding to Restaurant Reviews With Tripadvisor, you can respond to reviews for free by claiming your listing. Here are five things you should always do — and five things you should avoid....
How to Choose Your Favourite Review Available for Tripadvisor Premium subscribers, the Favourite Review feature allows you to spotlight what makes your restaurant special.
As a restaurant owner, you are best-equipped to tell diners what sets your restaurant apart. For Tripadvisor Premium subscribers, we’ve made it easy to highlight a review of your choice with Favourite Review.
Once you select your Favourite Review, it will appear in the second position of the Reviews section of your profile. In this way, you can control which review potential diners see first.
But since you only can choose one, how do you choose which review to feature?
Which Reviews Are Eligible for Favourite Review?
When you use the Favourite Review selection tool, you might notice some reviews are missing. This is because not every review is eligible to be a Favourite Review. To be eligible for a Favourite Review, the review must be less than a year old and have at least three bubbles. That way, you’re showcasing current opinions of the best you have to offer.
How to Choose Your Favourite Review
When you’re selecting your Favourite Review, keep these things in mind:
Choose a Positive Review
This might seem obvious, but you should choose from your highest bubble ratings — you can filter when searching within the tool — so that you’re only surfacing the very best of what your diners have to say. This is your chance to influence the conversation about your restaurant, so make it a positive interaction.
Choose an Enthusiastic Review
Your Favourite Review should have potential diners saying to themselves, “I have to go there!” You should find not only a positive review in terms of bubble rating, but also in how they describe your restaurant. Look for exclamation points and words like “great,” “amazing,” “terrific,” “fantastic,” and other positive terms that go beyond “good.”...
How to Improve Your Tripadvisor Restaurant Ranking Tripadvisor’s Head of Restaurant Products, Gerard Murphy, breaks down exactly what goes into Tripadvisor restaurant rankings — and what you can do to improve yours — in this short video. Watch below or read on for a transcript.
Here at Tripadvisor, we help hundreds of millions of diners search for restaurants just like yours. And we want nothing more than to recommend great restaurants to diners and to connect restaurant owners with potential customers.
Part of that secret sauce of what makes Tripadvisor great is how we rank our restaurants. It’s based on three qualities of your reviews: ratings, recency, and relevance. We’ll walk through how all three of those work.
Ratings refers to the number of reviews you have on Tripadvisor. We want to showcase the restaurants with the most four and five bubble reviews for potential diners. All other things being equal, a restaurant with more five bubble ratings will rank higher than one with lower bubble ratings.
Recency refers to the number of new reviews for your restaurant. While older reviews still count toward your ranking, newer reviews better reflect the current experience of your restaurant. This is great news for restaurants, because no matter what your ranking is now, you always have a chance with newer reviews to improve your ranking. All other things being equal, a restaurant with more recent reviews will rank higher than one with older reviews.
When someone is searching for a place to eat, they don’t just search for restaurants in a city. They search for dinner or pizza or pad thai in a city. Because of this, you don’t have just one ranking for your restaurant. You have many rankings on all kinds of criteria, from meal type to cuisine type and everything in between.
Take the Brick Alley Pub in Newport, Rhode Island, for example. It’s ranked 11th overall in Newport, but it’s ranked fifth for lunch, second for hamburgers, and sixth for American food. So why does it rank higher for these sorts of cuisines and meal types than its overall ranking? That’s because there’s a higher percentage of four or five bubble reviews that mention lunch, hamburgers, or American food.
When you think about your ranking, think about what kinds of dishes and cuisines you’re exceptionally good at and see where you rank on Tripadvisor for those categories. This is a much better indicator of how likely someone will find your restaurant than your overall ranking....
6 Best Practices When Responding to Restaurant Reviews 85% of Tripadvisor users are more likely to dine at a restaurant that responds to reviews. Here are some tips on how to craft the best Management Response.
It's important to think about reviews as both real-time feedback about your business and as a critical marketing tool. Potential diners scroll through your reviews to determine what your restaurant experience is like — essentially an online version of word-of-mouth. 91% of respondents said that reading restaurant reviews were important when choosing a place to eat, and 77% of respondents said that they always or frequently use Tripadvisor when making decisions on where to eat.
Responding Makes a Difference
Regardless of the positive or negative nature of a review, your response makes a difference.
In a recent survey, we found that up to 94% of respondents read a Management Response to a Tripadvisor review, with the majority noting that they found it helpful and that it encouraged them to try a restaurant, despite a bad review. And 65% of users agree that a thoughtful Management Response to a bad review improves their impression of the restaurant.
Think about it this way. If a diner sent back a dish because it wasn’t up to standards, you would go out of your way to improve their experience at your restaurant so that you can turn around the situation and wow the customer. That’s when your hospitality matters — when you go out of your way to make things right, you’re showing them how deeply you care about their experience.
You have that same power with a Management Response to an online review. Whether the review cites positive or negative feedback, it’s your chance to create that same moment of hospitality and show them you care about their experience. Here are six things to keep in mind as you respond to reviews:
How to Respond to Reviews
Start With a Thank You
Always thank your guests for coming in and trying out your restaurant, even if they’re regulars. Showing your gratitude for coming in underlines the hospitality you offer in-person. It’s the equivalent of your host thanking them on their way out the door.
It doesn’t take much — a concise response will do. Here’s a great example from the Tip Tap Room in Boston, responding to a 5-bubble review from a traveller:
“So glad to hear you enjoyed your dinner here, Treesha! Thanks for checking us out and taking the time to share. Hope to see you again if you're ever back in town!”
If the review is less positive, thank them instead for coming in and for taking the time to share feedback. Here’s a second example from the Tip Tap Room, responding to a 3-bubble review that contained a noise complaint:
“Thanks for sharing! We always appreciate honest feedback, and it does indeed get pretty lively in here. Glad to hear you enjoy[ed] the drinks!”
Show Diners You’re Listening
Most of the time, when someone writes a review, they want to be heard — so make sure that you’re listening. Acknowledging and echoing the feedback you’ve received in your response — positive or negative — shows that you care about what people are saying and that you’ve actually heard what they wanted to share.
Take this example from Papi Henri in Paris, responding to a 5-bubble review thanking the restaurant for explaining the menu to their party, who didn’t speak French:
“Many thanks for your post. It was a pleasure to translate our daily menu to you (hope my accent was not to difficult to understand :). We really hope to see you next time you are around. We wish you the best!”...
What Does Tripadvisor Do About Unfair Reviews? Business owners and their customers often ask what we do about unfair or malicious reviews. Here we explain our approach...
When reviews are unbiased and honest, they are incredibly useful. For customers, they shine a light on businesses that offer great experiences, service and value; for owners, they help attract new customers to the business and provide valuable feedback on what it does well and where it can improve.
Unfair or malicious reviews have the opposite effect — they are misleading to potential customers and can do unwarranted damage to the reputation of a business.
Broadly speaking, there are two different scenarios in which an unfair review can occur:
- Scenario #1: A review is submitted by someone who is either biased (you can learn more about how we determine bias here) or did not have a personal experience with the business they are reviewing. We call these Fake Reviews.
- Scenario #2: A review is submitted by someone who did have a personal experience with the business (and is not biased by having a connection with the business), but what their review describes is disputed by the business. We call these Contested Reviews.
This distinction is an important one because it guides the way we handle review disputes. Review disputes occur when a business reports a review that they believe to be breach of our guidelines. Once a business reports a review, we then determine whether it is alleged to be a Fake Review or a Contested Review, and take action from there.So how does Tripadvisor prevent Fake Reviews from being posted to the site?
Fake Reviews have no place on Tripadvisor. We work extremely hard to block them from being posted to the site.
First, we have a set of posting guidelines that all reviews must adhere to. These guidelines are designed to ensure reviews are as relevant and useful as possible. You can read more about our review guidelines here.
To enforce these guidelines, we use a combination of smart technology and a dedicated team of expert moderators.
The technology kicks in every time someone submits a review on Tripadvisor. Before the review is posted to the site, it has to go through hundreds of automatic checks which evaluate every aspect of that review. We call these checks our tracking system.
The system will either allow a review to be posted, block a review from being posted, or will send it to our moderation team for human analysis if it suspects the review may be fake.
Even after a review is posted, anyone can still use our reporting tools to request an investigation by our moderation team if they are concerned a review does not meet our guidelines. While the volume of requests we receive to investigate a review is low — less than 1% of reviews are ever reported to us — these reports are incredibly useful and help us enforce the guidelines consistently for all. Business owners can report reviews via the Management Centre (which they can access for free), while travellers can report reviews simply by clicking on the flag icon displayed beneath each review.
To read more about the different types of fake reviews and how we catch them, go here.
To read more about how our tracking system works, go here.How does Tripadvisor handle Contested Reviews?
While more than 99% of Tripadvisor reviews are uncontested, we know that when a review dispute does occur, it can be a serious matter for those involved. Deciding whether a Contested Review represents fair commentary about a business is a very important task, and one we try to handle as sensitively and as fairly as possible.
This is because a customer’s opinion is subjective — whether service is fast or slow, whether food is tasty or bland, whether the cost offers great value for money or is expensive — all of these things depend on a customer’s expectations.
We strongly believe that every traveller has a right to express their opinion, good or bad, based on their own expectations of what the experience should deliver.
We also know that if you are a business owner or member of staff it can be incredibly frustrating when you feel a criticism you’ve received in a review is unfair.
Any business can contest a review by using our reporting tools. Contested Reviews are then assessed by our moderation team, who determine if the review breaches our guidelines and therefore whether it should be removed or not.
If our moderation team concludes that a review meets our guidelines, it will remain posted. In these circumstances, there are still a number of steps a business can take to lessen the impact of a Contested Review, including posting a response that gives their side of the story. Indeed, we strongly believe not only in the customer’s right to express their opinion, but also in the business’ right to reply. We call this feature a Management Response.
You can learn more about the ways in which a business can respond to a Contested Review here.
To learn more about how our tracking system catches fake reviews, watch this video....
5 Free Tools to Get More Reviews for Your Restaurant A key component of your online reputation is a steady collection of recent reviews. Here’s why that’s so important and how to encourage your diners to review you on Tripadvisor.
When it comes to managing your online reputation, one thing you should always be thinking about is how to generate a consistent stream of reviews about your restaurant.
That’s because an average potential diner views five different restaurants, reading about eight reviews per restaurant, before making their decision on where to eat. We’ve found that diners spend twice as much time on Tripadvisor restaurant listings that have at least twenty reviews, so your first step should be to make sure your restaurant has a healthy volume of reviews.
Even when you’ve generated a large base of reviews, it’s important to keep collecting them. That’s because diners are much more interested in what your restaurant was like yesterday than what it was like six months ago. 78% of respondents to a recent survey said they focused on recent reviews — both positive and negative — to get the freshest perspective on a given location.
Your goal? Strive for building a continuous pipeline of recent reviews. When a restaurant has over forty recent reviews — that is, reviews that are less than six months old — diners are three times as likely to engage with the listing in some way — by looking at the menu, clicking through to the website, or booking online.
Here are five free tools you can use to encourage diners to leave more reviews:
1. Collect Reviews Directly on Your Website
Use your restaurant’s own website to tell potential diners that you’re on Tripadvisor and encourage them to leave reviews.
If you’re tech-savvy (or know someone who is), you can add a personalised review collection widget which will allow your diners to write a Tripadvisor review without leaving your website. You can easily copy the personalised code from here and paste it onto your website.
At a minimum, mentioning on your website that you love restaurant reviews and including a link to your Tripadvisor listing should encourage diners to write reviews....
As of October 27, 2020 automated review collection, private surveys and the ability to customize review collection email templates are no longer included in the Review Express offering, but are available with Reputation Pro – a new premium solution to help you make an...
9 Common Review Express Concerns Answers to the most frequently asked Review Express questions.
1. What’s the cost for Review Express?
Review Express is free for all businesses listed on Tripadvisor. You just need to be a registered owner or manager for your property.
2. Why is Review Express better than sending my own email?
Review Express is a free and easy way to collect feedback from guests. You’ll benefit from co-branding with Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel site. You’ll have access to the Review Express dashboard, which provides clear, accurate results for each of your campaigns. There’s also a reminder email that’s automatically sent to guests who don’t respond – making it even easier for you to get more reviews.
3. How do email permissions work?
Read our article on Review Express and email permissions here.
4. What happens with my guests’ email addresses when I use Review Express?
When the email addresses are received they are run through our Review Express filters. First, addresses of recipients who have elected not to receive emails from Review Express are removed. Then, addresses that have received Review Express emails from you in the last 30 days, and those that have written a review of your business in the last three months, are removed.
Your Review Express email is sent to the remaining addresses and responses are tracked in the dashboard. If there’s no response within 7 days, and you’ve chosen to send a reminder email to guests, Tripadvisor will send a follow up email on your behalf. At that point, the addresses remain stored in a Tripadvisor server, so results of the campaign can continue to be tracked in the dashboard and future email campaign lists can be properly filtered.
5. How does Tripadvisor protect my guests’ information?
Email addresses provided to Tripadvisor through Review Express are stored separately and securely. Access is limited to specific people on the Tripadvisor team.
6. Does Tripadvisor use these email addresses for other purposes?
No. Tripadvisor recognizes the value and importance in protecting your guests’ information. Email addresses submitted for Review Express are not used for any other purpose. They are not subscribed to general Tripadvisor email campaigns, or tracked for anything other than reporting on your Review Express dashboard.
7. If I provide my guests’ email addresses, will they automatically become Tripadvisor members?
No, we do not automatically create memberships for Review Express email recipients. However, a user will need a Tripadvisor membership to write a review of your property. When users decide to submit reviews, they can choose to register on the site or log in to their existing accounts and then adjust account settings in relation to receiving future emails from Tripadvisor.
8. Can I accidentally over-email my guests with Review Express?
Only one initial Review Express email and one reminder email can be sent to each guest per visit to your property, within a 30-day time period. The reminder email is only sent if you elect to use that feature and your guest hasn’t already written a review about your property.
If you’re using automated Review Express, we’ll also compare any incoming addresses from your hospitality technology provider with your campaign history to ensure your guests aren’t double-emailed. This is important because you should still use manual Review Express to send emails to the people who don’t book through your technology providers.
9. Can I be selective and only send Review Express emails to guests who are likely to write positive reviews?
You should ask all guests for permission to email them, and send Review Express emails to everyone who consents. Selectively emailing guests who are most likely to write positive reviews is considered a fraudulent practice and may result in penalties for your property. For more information, click here. Keep in mind – properties are often surprised by the amount of positive feedback they receive … after all, the average Tripadvisor review rating is 4.12 bubbles out of 5.1
- 1. Tripadvisor internal data, January 2014
How Does Tripadvisor Catch Fake Reviews? Here we explain the three different types of fake reviews and how Tripadvisor uses a combination of technology and detective work to stop fake reviews reaching the site…
Review sites have a responsibility to identify and take action against those who try to submit fake reviews. It is a responsibility we take very seriously, and so for more than a decade Tripadvisor has invested in new technology and a team of expert investigators to catch fake reviews.
A Fake Review is defined as any review submitted by someone who is either biased or did not have a personal experience with the business they are reviewing. Note that Fake Reviews are not the same as Contested Reviews (where a customer who is unconnected to the business has shared a personal experience that is disputed by that business). You can learn more about how we approach Contested Reviews here.
Fake reviews usually fall into one of three categories: Biased Positive Reviews, Biased Negative Reviews or Paid Reviews.Biased Positive Reviews
A biased positive review is when someone connected with a business — such as an owner, employee, or even a friend or relative — attempts to post a positive review of that business. We also call this Review Boosting.
Reviews of this nature are unlikely to provide an objective account of what the customer experience is really like given the reviewer’s personal association or stake with that business.
Biased positive reviews can also occur when a business offers its customers incentives, such as a free meal or a discount, to post reviews. You can find out more about why we don’t allow review incentives here.
We catch biased positive reviews with our tracking system, which spots patterns and online markers that might indicate whether friends, family or members of staff are attempting to submit reviews about a business. On top of this, we encourage the community to let us know when they see a business offering incentives in exchange for reviews. Our team then investigates these reports and takes action against any business caught trying to collect positive reviews in this way.Biased Negative Reviews
A biased negative review is when someone submits a deliberately malicious review about a property in an effort to unfairly lower its ranking position or improperly discredit the property in some way. We also call this Review Vandalism.
Most biased negative reviews come from one of two sources — either from someone connected to a rival establishment, or from someone who is trying to blackmail a business by threatening to submit a false negative review.
There are a number of ways we catch these types of reviews.
Similar to biased positive reviews, our tracking system can spot reviewer characteristics that might indicate whether a reviewer has a connection to a rival establishment. Even if they try to cover their tracks, their reviews won’t conform to the patterns we’d expect to find from a sample of genuine customer reviews. Our system can spot this and trigger an investigation.
On top of this, we have a tool that business owners can use to report instances where someone has threatened them with a bad review in an attempt to obtain a discount or freebie. Reporting threats immediately helps our team block the person who made the threat from posting a review. You can find out how to do so here.Paid Reviews
This is when a business, either knowingly or unwittingly, employs the services of an individual or a company to boost its ranking position on Tripadvisor with positive reviews. We also call this Review Optimisation.
We catch paid reviews using a combination of our tracking system, which identifies suspicious review activity, and a dedicated team of investigators who pursue the companies and individuals that attempt to sell them.
In fact, as a result of the team’s efforts, Tripadvisor has put a stop to the activity of over 60 different paid review companies around the world.
You can read more about the different ways we are able to catch paid review companies here....
How Does Tripadvisor Determine Whether a Review Is Biased?
Even when a person has visited a hotel or restaurant, their review could still breach our guidelines if it is biased. Here we describe some of the scenarios in which a review could be considered biased...
In order for reviews to be useful and accurate, they should be based on real and impartial customer experiences. By this we mean that there should not be any ulterior motive for someone to leave a review other than to share an honest account of their own personal experience. We consider any review that is predisposed to be either positive or negative to be biased and therefore against Tripadvisor guidelines.
Here are a few scenarios which might lead to biased reviews:Paid Reviews
Reviews that a business has attempted to purchase are biased and do not provide travellers with the impartial advice they are looking for. They are also unfair to hard-working businesses that play by the rules. Fortunately, our team of investigators is very effective at catching those who claim to offer reviews for hire, and we take firm action against businesses that try to use such services. You can learn more about how we catch reviews like this here.Incentivized Reviews
Incentives are rewards or preferential treatment offered by a business in return for a review. Examples include offering discounts or reduced prices on a current or future experience in exchange for a review, or even promising upgrades, vouchers or any special treatment in return for reviews.
Tripadvisor encourages businesses to ask all customers to write reviews and share their feedback. However, we do not allow offering any kind of incentive for a review because this can impact the impartiality of that review. Under our incentives policy, we penalize any businesses that are found to be offering incentives to customers.Blackmail...
How Does the Tripadvisor Review Tracking System Work? Here we explain how the technology behind our review tracking system works, and how we use it to catch fake reviews and prevent them from reaching the site...
When someone submits a review on Tripadvisor, it goes through a series of checks before it is posted to the site. These checks are done automatically by our review tracking system, which analyzes hundreds of pieces of information.
The tracking system is our first line of defense against fake reviews, and it means we can analyse every review prior to it being posted on the site. Such a task would be impossible if we relied only on human moderation, because the volume of review submissions from the global travel community is so high — Tripadvisor receives hundreds of contributions every minute.What pieces of information does the tracking system check?
Because reviews are submitted online, there are hundreds of pieces of electronic information we can analyse to help us understand more about every review’s origin and circumstance. For example, we can see the location of the device that was used to submit a review, as well as some details about the specifications of that device. Even if someone is trying to hide information about their device location, which fraudsters often do, we can spot that too.
That is just one example — there are lots of other pieces of information that we look out for. They act like pieces of a puzzle that our tracking system is designed to join together, creating a complete picture of each review.Can Tripadvisor give other examples of what the tracking system checks?
In the same way a bank cannot share too much information about the security systems it uses, unfortunately we cannot share a full list of everything our system tracks. We would love to show off all of the things our technology can do, but we also have to be cautious not to provide any information that fraudsters might try to use to get around our systems.What is the tracking system looking for?
Our tracking system is designed to do two things — block reviews that are clearly in breach of our guidelines, such as those that include offensive language or plagiarized content, and also spot unusual patterns that might indicate a review is biased or fake.
When our tracking system identifies a review that is clearly in breach of our guidelines, it rejects that review and blocks it from being posted to the site in the first place.
When our tracking system identifies an unusual pattern of review activity, it triggers an investigation by our team of moderators. While the investigation takes place, the reviews associated with the unusual activity are blocked from being posted to the site. You can learn more about the types of reviews that might be flagged for investigation here....
What Does Tripadvisor Do To Stop The Buying and Selling of Fake Reviews Online?
Buying reviews is a dishonest business practice that misleads customers and is deeply unfair to the majority of businesses that play by the rules. Here we explain why Tripadvisor takes a hard line against the small minority of businesses who try to buy reviews, and how we catch the companies that sell them…
The vast majority of business owners play fair on Tripadvisor. They work hard to provide a great customer experience, and they want those customers to share honest feedback in their reviews.
Unfortunately, there are some individuals and/or companies who try to exploit hospitality business owners by soliciting money in exchange for fake reviews. These companies often masquerade as legitimate businesses and they make various false promises about what their ‘services’ deliver. Their main claim is that they can boost a hospitality business’ ranking on Tripadvisor with positive reviews.
We refer to this category of fake reviews as Paid Reviews and they represent a form of fraud. It is a problem we take extremely seriously. We have a dedicated team of investigators who work 24/7 to catch paid review companies and prevent them from operating on our site. We also work with regulators and law enforcement agencies around the world to successfully prosecute some of the worst offenders. In many countries, both the buying and selling of reviews is illegal, and if caught, paid reviewers can be sentenced to time in prison.What is the difference between a Paid Review company and a Review Optimisation company?
They are two different names for the same thing. We think ‘paid review companies’ is the clearest and simplest way to refer to all businesses or individuals that sell fake reviews.
It is important to note that ‘review optimisation’ is not to be confused with other optimisation tools that offer a legitimate service, such as ‘search engine optimisation’.How can Tripadvisor spot a Paid Review?
Tripadvisor has been tracking millions of reviews for well over a decade which enables us to build very accurate models of the way normal travellers post reviews. Paid reviewers don’t conform to this model, even when they try to disguise their activity. Even small differences in review submission patterns can be spotted by our tracking system and trigger an investigation by our team of experts.
You can learn more about how our tracking system works here.How does Tripadvisor catch paid review companies?
In addition to our sophisticated tracking system, our dedicated team of investigators track down and stop the companies that claim to offer paid reviews.
There are a number of ways we do this....
Investigations Spotlight: Jail Time for Review Fraud
In the second in a series of behind-the-scenes articles highlighting the vital work of our review fraud investigators, we delve into an Italian investigation that delivered some groundbreaking results...
The buying or selling of fake reviews — known as paid review fraud — is not only dishonest, but also illegal in many countries. Fortunately, because of our highly evolved detection and deterrent techniques, the amount of fraud attempted on Tripadvisor is extremely small. We take any attempts at review fraud very seriously, and with over 15 years’ experience, we are the industry leaders at catching it.
Back in 2015, our dedicated team of fraud investigators identified a new illegal business in Italy called PromoSalento* that was offering to write fake reviews for hospitality businesses to boost their profile on Tripadvisor. Several Italian businesses forwarded the emails to us, which kick-started an investigation that would ultimately see the person behind PromoSalento sent to jail!
Here is how we did it:Step #1: Identify The Perpetrator
The first step of the investigation was to confirm the identity of the person behind the emails as well as other individuals we suspected were involved with the PromoSalento business. Through research and detection work, our investigators gathered a variety of details on the people involved, including email addresses, residential addresses and personal connections.Step #2: Gather The Evidence and Block Reviews
The next step was to establish that PromoSalento had not only advertised fake review services, but had actually attempted to submit fake reviews to our site. This is an important step because companies or individuals sometimes claim they can submit fake reviews or influence our site, only for them to disappear with the money once a business has signed up to their ‘services.’
Our investigators applied advanced digital forensics to identify and analyse links between PromoSalento and attempted submissions to our site. Over the course of our investigation, our technical analysis identified and then either blocked or removed more than 1,000 attempts by PromoSalento to submit reviews to the Tripadvisor site on hundreds of different properties.
PromoSalento attempted to avoid our scrutiny by regularly changing their usernames and email addresses, but our fraud detection processes use a suite of advanced technologies to evaluate hundreds of review attributes such as IP addresses, browser types and even the screen resolution of a reviewer’s device. Based on that analysis, we were able to see a trail of digital and behavioral ‘breadcrumbs’ that led our team straight back to PromoSalento.Step #3: Penalize Properties
The next step was to connect this activity to the businesses paying PromoSalento to write fake reviews on their behalf. We believe those who do not play by the rules should be penalized and we have strong penalties in place for businesses that try to manipulate our system.
Our investigators gathered a detailed collection of evidence linking several hundred businesses to fake reviews submitted by PromoSalento. The team then notified these businesses and applied penalties that demoted their positions in our rankings. A ranking penalty — which reduces a business’s position within the Tripadvisor Popularity Ranking — is often the first penalty we apply in cases like this.
For most of the businesses we caught in connection with PromoSalento, our ranking penalties were enough to stop fraud in its tracks. But where we saw suspicious activity continue, the next step was to issue a red badge, which is a notice displayed on a business’s Tripadvisor listing page warning travellers that the business has been trying to manipulate reviews. The notice outlines the type of fraud we have spotted.
We always seek to engage with businesses before a red badge is applied, and in this case, several businesses were willing to share information to support Tripadvisor’s investigations. This allowed us to gather even more evidence against PromoSalento, including confirmation of payments, bank transactions and service receipts....
Displaying Your Tripadvisor Rating and Latest Reviews on Your Site
Studies show that travellers want to see feedback from other travellers before they make their booking decisions. That's one reason why businesses around the world choose to enhance their websites with free Tripadvisor widgets.
What is a Tripadvisor widget?
A widget is a small snippet of code provided by Tripadvisor that can be installed within any HTML-based web page. They can bring Tripadvisor content – like recent reviews or your overall rating – to your website, and they update automatically. Other widgets encourage travellers to write reviews or link to your listing on Tripadvisor.
There are two categories of widgets available to you for free through Tripadvisor: widgets for businesses and widgets for destinations. To find out what content is free for you, go to your Widget Centre.
Widgets for Businesses
- Awards & Praise: Has your business received rave reviews or have you earned a Tripadvisor recognition? These widgets will help you spread the news
- Display Reviews: Show off your rating, snippets of recent reviews and more
- Collect Reviews: Drive more reviews with a quick link for visitors to write a review on Tripadvisor, or encourage them to write a review without ever leaving your site
Widgets for Destinations
- Social Media Button: Add this button next to your Facebook & Twitter icons so visitors are just a click away from reading your reviews
- Read Reviews: Put visitors a click away from your destination’s reviews, photos and more
How do I get a widget?
Head to www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Widgets and enter your business or destination name. Your personalised widgets are just a few clicks away!
If your widget isn’t working, check these troubleshooting tips for help:
- Make sure that the code was pasted into the source code of your page, not the displayable version.
- Make sure that the page that you're posting it on contains valid HTML code.
- Check all code to make sure that tags (<p>, <a>, etc.) are closed.
- Make sure that there are no line breaks in the script tag.
- Make sure that the badge includes a <div> tag followed by a <script> tag.
- Make sure that the script tag has the “&lang=” parameter, as this can become corrupted and converted to a left angle bracket.
Journey of a Tripadvisor Review From submission to posting, how Tripadvisor moderates traveller reviews
Ever wondered what steps Tripadvisor takes to moderate reviews? Watch the short video above to learn more about:
- The technology Tripadvisor uses to track and evaluate reviews,
- What happens when we spot a suspicious review,
- The three main types of fake or biased reviews and how we catch them,
- The role of our investigations team, and
- What businesses can do to request an investigation
For more information about our reviews guidelines, click here.Last Updated: 10 April 2017
Quick Start Guide: Automated Review Express Automated Review Express allows you to leverage your partnership with a Tripadvisor-certified connectivity provider to effortlessly gain new reviews for your business. Use this guide to get started.
Review Express is a free, easy-to-use Tripadvisor tool that allows properties to email past guests and request reviews. On average, regular Review Express users see an uplift of 33% in the amount of Tripadvisor reviews for their property.1 For hoteliers who are working with a Tripadvisor-certified connectivity provider – like an internet booking engine or property management system – collecting reviews can be even easier with automated Review Express.
How does automated Review Express work? When guests check out, your connectivity provider will automatically deliver their email addresses to Tripadvisor. In turn, Tripadvisor will send the guests a customised Review Express email within 72 hours. The best part? Automated Review Express, like manual Review Express, is free.
Ready to set up your automated Review Express campaign? All it takes is three simple steps:
1. Access Review Express
Visit tripadvisor.com/ReviewExpress, type your property name and then select it from the box. If you’re not signed in to Tripadvisor yet, you’ll be prompted to log in or register at this point. Review Express is free to use, but you must be registered for your property on Tripadvisor to get started.
3. Configure your default messageReview Express allows you to set a default email template for each of the 20+ languages on the site. Automated Review Express sends that default email to addresses received from your connectivity provider. If you haven’t set a default, a standard Tripadvisor template is used. To set your default email for automated Review Express, go to the “Create Email” tab. Your default message will appear automatically – it will have an asterisk in its name. Use the "Edit" links to make any adjustments to the template on this page and then save it. Be sure the box that says “Save this as my default for [language]” is clicked – that will guarantee the message is sent for automated Review Express. If you regularly host guests who speak other languages, consider editing the default message in those languages as well. When your connectivity provider sends email addresses to Tripadvisor, it includes the guest language preference, and an automated Review Express email is sent in that language.
That’s it - you’ve completed set up!
Your automated Review Express emails will begin sending as soon as your connectivity provider delivers the email addresses of guests who have checked out. You can edit your default emails and monitor the status of your connectivity provider in the "Settings" tab. As always, you can measure the results of each Review Express campaign – both manual and automated – on the Dashboard tab. You can also use Dashboard results to make adjustments to your default message and maximise responses.
QUICK TIP: Automated Review Express emails can only be sent to addresses stored by your connectivity providers. To reach the rest of your guests, don’t forget to return to Review Express and upload their addresses manually.
If your accommodation isn’t able to sign up for automated Review Express, it could be that your connectivity provider is not certified. Please contact your provider to get connected.
To learn more about Review Express, click here.
- 1. Tripadvisor Site Data, January 2014
Review Express Analytics in 5 minutes or less
When did you last have more than enough time to get everything done? If you can’t remember, then the Review Express Dashboard has been designed with your schedule in mind! In just five minutes, you can check these key indicators to see how your past campaigns performed and get ideas for new ones. Don’t believe it? Visit www.tripadvisor.com/ReviewExpress, select your property from the dropdown list, and start your stopwatch:
Minute 1: Take inventory
Review the cumulative stats on the total campaigns and emails sent, total opens and clicks, and the total reviews collected. Divide the number of opens by total emails sent to get your average open rate. For example, the average open rate here is almost 30%. Then do the same for clicks and reviews. Over time, make sure these metrics are trending up. If not, try out combinations of our Review Express tips to boost them.
Minutes 2 & 3: Scroll through recent reviews
Check out your recent reviews to see what’s going well at your property and what may need attention. Be sure to note the ones that need Management Responses later. If you don’t have recent reviews, the dashboard will provide some tips to try for future campaigns.
Minutes 4 & 5: Check campaign stats
Calculate your open rate (# Opens / # Sent), click rate (# Clicks / # Sent) and bounce rate (# Bounced / # Sent) for your last three campaigns. Are they better than your overall average from Step 1? If so, keep it up.
If your open rates are trending down, try varying your subject lines or sending your emails closer to when guests depart to make your messages more relevant to them. If your clicks are a problem, try including more personal messaging to guests. Don’t forget, a declining bounce rate is good because it means that more of your emails are being delivered. If this isn’t the case, focus on verifying your email addresses.
That’s it! Within five minutes, you’ll be ready to send another Review Express campaign that’s optimised based on your past campaigns (just click “Continue to send” to get started). Check out the Review Express dashboard at www.tripadvisor.com/ReviewExpress today!
Do bounces, clicks, AND opens have you seeing double?
If so, here’s an email analytics cheat sheet:
Your overall Review Express history:
- Total campaigns: Number of times you sent groups of emails to guests with Review Express
- Total emails sent: Number of addresses you’ve mailed overall
- Total opens: Number of Review Express emails viewed by users
- Total clicks: Number of people who took action on all emails
For each campaign:
- # Sent: Number of addresses mailed
- # Opens: Number of emails viewed in the campaign
- # Clicks: Number of people who took action on an individual campaign email
- # Bounced: Number of emails that couldn’t be delivered
Last Updated: 17 January 2018
10 Tips to Get More Reviews With Review Express
Over 80% of accommodations worldwide invite guests to submit reviews.1 Reminder emails are a great way to generate fresh reviews, build ongoing relationships with guests and potentially impact your popularity ranking. Don’t have an email programme in place? Tripadvisor’s Review Express, a free tool for sending reminder emails, can help!
1. Collect email addresses
Before guests depart, confirm that you have accurate email addresses on record.
2. Set guests’ expectations
Obtain permission to pass their details to Tripadvisor to facilitate review collection and tell them you'll be sending a Review Express email to collect their feedback.
3. Choose your “from” address wisely
Be sure it includes the name of the property or a key employee that is recognizable.
4. Use short and simple messaging
Shorter emails with clear, concise subject lines are most effective.
5. Add custom touches
Include a signature with your name and role to make the email more personal.
6. Help your email get through
Avoid using multiple exclamation points and all capital letters in your subject line and message.
7. Avoid weekends and holidays
Send earlier in the work-week when people pay more attention to their email.
8. Send emails regularly
Ask guests for feedback within a few days of check out, when the experience is still fresh.
9. Say thank you
Use this opportunity to thank guests and encourage a repeat visit.
10. Test new things
Experiment with your “from” addresses, subject lines, messages and images.
Review Express Helps You:
- Email up to 1,000 former guests at a time
- Customise default messages in 20+ languages
- Add images and save templates for later use
- Automatically send follow up messages (optional)
- Keep addresses secure — they’re only used for Review Express
- 1. TripBarometer by Tripadvisor, an online survey conducted in Dec. 2012 – Jan. 2013 with 35,042 participants from 26 countries (www.tripadvisorTripBarometer.com)