Travel booking giant TripAdvisor is now flagging destinations where alleged sexual assaults have occurred. It's all in an effort to inform travelers of incidents before they confirm their choice of places to book.
This comes on the heels of a backlash the company was facing after removing comments from their page, regarding rape allegations by a Dallas woman.
A company spokesperson says the company is taking an informative approach by way of a badge system, one the company said is its way to improve guidance to people planning a vacation, but the cautionary system is surfacing too late.
“They did nothing to help him and left him dead beside the pool for hours,” Maureen Webster said about her son.
“You don't understand -- I wasn't on the beach. This wasn't a harassment, I was raped,” Kristie Love of Dallas said about a hotel in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
Those are two instances that would call for the new banner alerting travelers about potential issues.
A TripAdvisor spokesperson sent us a response via email detailing how the procedure works.
"When concerns are flagged, there is an internal committee that will determine whether or not to badge a business based on media sources or current reviews or forum posts being submitted that reflect the health, safety or discrimination issue."
So far, the company says, four hotel properties in Mexico have been flagged but it's the personal review Love wrote and wanted public.
“Every day TripAdvisor would delete that post. So I would go immediately and repost it and it would be removed again,” Love said.
The company says, it removed the post because its policy calls for “family-friendly” language but now it allows for more descriptive reviews but they must be from a first-hand account.
“I think consumers are starting to understand that reviews can be manipulated on these sites and I think the level of trust is decreasing slowly,” travel expert Pauline Frommer said.
TripAdvisor will leave the banner up for three months unless the problems regarding health, safety or discrimination persist.
Plus, they add, "As always, we encourage consumers to do additional research outside of TripAdvisor. These badges will remain on a TripAdvisor listing for up to three months, however, if the issues persist we may extend the duration of the badge. There are many circumstances in which the property could make changes so that the health and safety issues are no longer a concern for travelers.”
The badge will be visible at the top of a business listing's page. Plus, there is an internal committee at TripAdvisor that will make all decisions regarding the notifications, following any claims.