Hoteliers’ fake reviews appeal

David and Julie Webb of Langtry's Hotel, King Edward Ave, Blackpool

David and Julie Webb of Langtry's Hotel, King Edward Ave, Blackpool

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HOTELIERS have said a move by TripAdvisor to prevent malicious reviews being published does not go far enough and more must be done to protect livelihoods.

The website had come under increasing pressure to tackle problems with online reviews after hoteliers complained people were posting damning reviews on the site when they had never been a guest.

The Advertising Standards Authority launched an investigation into TripAdvisor and the site has now taken down the slogan “reviews you can trust” and replaced it with “reviews from our community”.

But one victim Claire Smith, president of StayBlackpool and owner of the Number One bed and breakfast on St Luke’s Road, South Shore, said it will not stop people posting fake remarks.

Her hotel was given a bogus review from someone claiming to be a guest and she said it damaged the hotel’s top reputation.

She said: “Changing the motto on the website doesn’t make a difference at all as far as I’m concerned.

“It’s still a negative way to review and it needs to be addressed because of the damage it can do to people’s livelihoods.

“I had a fake review and I knew it was fake because they said they had to wait at the bar.

“But we don’t have a bar and it was just someone being mean after they had seen us on the Three in a Bed TV show.

“It upset me, it felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.

“It’s not right people are allowed to get away with it on Trip Advisor.”

David Webb runs Langtry’s boutique bed and breakfast, in King Edward Avenue, North Shore, with his wife Julie.

They were given a five star rating by TripAdvisor in December last year, but Mr Webb said he did not think the website’s decision to update its review section will work.

He added: “I’m not sure it is a forward step and I don’t know how it’s going to work.

“If people want to put a bad review on there they will do it anyway, because it can’t be stopped.

“Once it’s up there for a couple of days the damage is done and I can’t understand why they won’t change the system in place.”

Emma Boyle, a spokeswoman for TripAdvisor, said the site always tried to ensure comments were legitimate.

She added: “TripAdvisor has a zero tolerance policy on fraudulent reviews and take authenticity very seriously.

“We have numerous methods to ensure the legitimacy of the content on TripAdvisor, including automated site tools, a team of review integrity experts, and our large and passionate community of millions of travellers who help us identify suspicious content.”