It debuts just days after the government launched an investigation in to fraudulent practices at online review sites, following reports of fake reviews being published, businesses paying for endorsements, and negative reviews not being published.
The private feature functions as an add-on to TripAdvisor’s Review Express option, which emails guests post-stay prompting them to leave a review online.
Hoteliers can select a range of questions to build a customised private survey of up to seven questions.
The option potentially allows businesses to be protected from harmful reviews being made public.
Minesh Shah, senior director, global hotel partnerships, TripAdvisor, cited the feature as ‘a natural progression’ for the site.
“The private survey extension takes the Review Express feature to the next level, helping small and independent accommodation gain additional insights from reviews by asking targeted, specific questions to identify improvement opportunities,” he said.
Following the launch of government inquiry in to unlawful online review practices, the hospitality industry has called for greater protection for businesses from misleading or malicious reviews.
According to a survey by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), 75 per cent of UK hospitality businesses find user reviews to be ‘useful’, but 55 per cent believe a single review has caused their business harm.
Jackie Grech, legal and policy director for the BHA, said: “Customers place increasing levels of trust in online user reviews, which makes them incredibly helpful when appropriately used but capable of really misleading consumers and harming business when misused or abused.”
Despite the potentially damaging nature of online reviews, TripAdvisor has previously reported that nearly three quarters of businesses have taken steps to improve business standards as a result of a review, with 85 per cent agreeing that the sites had a positive impact on service standards.