November 14, 2007

Stephen Kaufer - Tripadvisor

Get the truth and go. Sounds simple enough. Stephen Kaufer, President and CEO of seems to think so. But in order to have truth, you need to also have trust.

At the PhoCusWright conference in Orlando, Stephen said "Trust online is gold dust."

You need:
1. Honest brokers - People that can give you truth
2. Social networks - A group that you can trust

When travelers ideas are varying then the knowledge of the mass prevails and averages the results.

TripAdvisor has made headway in the social aspect of their online reviews. They allow you to get your friends on your own traveler's network by connecting with friends with an interactive map. When you are browsing the site, your traveler's network automatically populates their recommendations. This will give great trust based reviews with depth unmatchable by traditional travel agents.

Have you used Tripadvisor, or has your property been effected by a review? Do you trust the reviews?


Chuck Fesperman said...

I have used Tripadvisor in the past and found it very useful. There are good reviews and information to be found. However, you do have to be careful and don't just trust every post. Some people cannot be pleased and they think the world revolves around them. Their posts are easy to spot as they 're usually the only negative comments out of a bunch!

Philip Caines said...

Hey Chuck, I agree, you have to take the extreme positive and negative reviews with a grain of salt. It does come down to the reviewers personality, and as the old saying goes, "one mans trash is another mans treasure"

Scott Carlucci said...

I have a small hotel and received a fake post on tripadvisor. The post slated my hotel saying that it was unclean, uncomfortable, had bed bugs and dingy etc etc. However a complete refurbishment of the hotel had just been completed a few weeks before this person supposedly stayed. At first I wrote a management response which Tripadvisor failed to publish (twice) even though it met all of their criteria. I then wrote to them explaining that there was no possibility this person could have stayed, as all of my guests at the time, were regular clients and had stayed through the refurbishment without complaint. Tripadvisor wrote back saying that they were not mediators and would not get involved. They said the review met all of their criteria and therefore it would remain on the site. The person who wrote the review then started harrassing me via the tripadvisor message service and still continues to do so a year later. The comments this person is sending me, are such that I have had to get the police involved. For an individual to write a review and continue to harass us for a year is not only worrying, but is clearly not a person of sound mind. I have not responded to the messages from this person, but have asked Tripadvisor to look into it. I think Tripadvisor need to address some issues about fake postings and believe that they need to make a more stringent vetting of posts. If individuals had to prove they did indeed stay at an establishment by providing a receipt or similar, it would create a better end product for its members.

Philip Caines said...

Hi Scott,

You raise a very interesting point, there seems to be no restriction for competition or vandals from slandering your property. I can see adding a 'verification of stay' step solving the majority of these issues, however, coming from a technology background, the system that would need to be developed would be huge. As this step would help the properties and not Tripadvisor, I doubt we will see this added any time soon. But if these fraudulent postings continue, lets hope that Tripadvisor values the credibility of their user generated content and creates some verification.