Anger grows against TripAdvisor following Cutting Edge documentary

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Tripadvisor, Butcher

Colin and Sarah Bowett, owners of the Olde Forge in Norfolk talked about their experience on Attack of the Trip Advisors
Colin and Sarah Bowett, owners of the Olde Forge in Norfolk talked about their experience on Attack of the Trip Advisors
Anger against the reviews website TripAdvisor has grown among members of the industry following the airing of the Cutting Edge documentary Attack of the Trip Advisors on Channel 4 last night

The TV show looked into the affect 'nit-picking and abusive reviews' can have on the owners of hotels, B&Bs and restaurants by interviewing some of those who have been at the receiving end of negative comments and putting them face-to-face with their online critics.

Business owners featured, such as Colin and Sarah Bowett of The Olde Forge Seafood Restaurant in Thursford, Norfolk and Bev of the Hollies B&B in St Ives, questioned why critics fail to make their feelings known during their stay or meal and showed the impact negative reviews posted on TripAdvisor can have on their livelihoods and own wellbeing.

"They say they had a lovely time to your face and then go away and write a nasty review," said Sarah.


Following the programme, many restaurateurs, hoteliers and B&B owners, already unhappy with the way some businesses are treated by TripAdvisor, spoke out on Twitter to share their feelings and thoughts on its representation of the industry.

"What TA misses is they don't encourage people to take up there (sic) moans with owners etc first. If u went to the butchers and had a not so good bit of meat, you tell the butcher, you don't run off to the nearest PC to complain," said @theswanbampton.

"Didn't even scratch the surface, showed what we are up against but didn't show how sinister TA are by doing nothing to help," said @Cock_Bull, the Scottish restaurant considering a lawsuit against TripAdvisor for failing to remove a potentially defamatory review.

"Disappointed TV never shows the great things hotels do 24/7 or the great professional service it delivers" said @experiencecoach.

"The industry has got to mount a campaign aimed at bringing TA to account for publishing reviews that can destroy lives." said @MikePem.

Impact on business

A statement from TripAdvisor said the documentary was 'clearly a portrayal of extremes indended for entertainment purposes' but said the company recognised the impact reviews could have on a business and had measures in place to help businesses deal with them.

It said: "We do appreciate the impacts that reviews can have on properties and for this reason we have numerous mechanisms in place to allow hotels and other businesses to address reviews they feel are false or unfair.

"For instance, we offer a management response tool that allows hoteliers to respond to specific traveller reviews. This gives business owners the last word. We strongly encourage business owners to take advantage of this feature; according to a recent Forrester survey commissioned by TripAdvisor, 71 per cent of travellers think seeing a management response to reviews is important.

"TripAdvisor was founded on a core set of principles - to give travellers a voice to share their experiences, promote consumer choice and encourage a level playing field for everyone in the industry – all within a free, open and honest forum. This remains our mission.”

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Posted by amanda,

I advertised my property very successfully on Holiday Lettings for three years. I introduced many people to the site who then advertised with them too. It helped me and many others set up a great business. I was very concerned when the site was taken over by Trip Advisor, and asked to opt out of the review section. I was not allowed to do this and had a bad review, quite unfounded, from unreasonable guests who I wished I had never had! Despite lots of previous guests ringing, emailing me and offering to put on excellent reviews, all it takes is one bad one to ruin your business. I noticed after the review I was not getting enquiries, even though I normally got one a week. I then removed the property from the site and put it on other holiday sites instead. I suggest all owners remove their properties and only put them on sites not connected to Trip Advisor. The sites will then lose business and take owners seriously. Why would you pay to have your property on a site which ruins your holiday business? I have asked to have an opt out clause for reviews and if they agree to that I will return to them. Alternatively, I could re launch the property, calling it a different name so that the review will not follow the property.

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Trip Advisor Programme

Posted by Bill,

The obnoxious tri at end of programme who were invited back, had no intention in trying to sort things out. Just a stuck up lot of losers looking for confrontation. The male puppy dog with the other two bi.....s really made my blood boil. He is a total waste of space.

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Derogatory remarks very well deserved

Posted by Yvonne Bosley,

I'm sorry Dave Potts but it's you who needs to get out more if you think that the couple from the Old Forge had a 'most friendly and obliging attitude'. In fact they were a thoroughly unpleasant pair who shouldn't be in the hospitality business. If Trip Advisor warns me off such establishments then it's doing a good job in my opinion.

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