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New filter pinpoints creepy managers and scary hotels

May 16, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

TripAdvisor has added a traveller safety filter to make it easier for guests to find reviews that mention sexual assaults or creepy behaviour that causes worry.

The filter applies to reviews of hotels and guesthouses. By checking a “See safety reviews” box, the site displays the relevant reviews, and shows how many there are. A “Traveller Safety” notice appears above the reviews of properties perceived by reviewers to have safety concerns.

A demonstration screen on the TripAdvisor site shows an example on a phone screen, with a traveller writing:

“I was electrocuted by faulty wiring in the outdoor shower, the spa attendant touched me inappropriately in the steam room (without my permission) and then the assistant manager told us we had to check out early, despite the fact that we had a guaranteed late check out (in writing).”

Not the sort of place you would rush back to.

TripAdvisor is the world’s biggest travel website in terms of visits. Its president, core experiences, Lindsay Nelson, says the need for better access to safety information while travelling has never been greater.

TripAdvisor’s president, core experiences, Lindsay Nelson

“Often, something tragic must happen in order to engage in a dialogue about traveller safety, which by then is far too late,” Nelson says.

She cites a recent study in which 67% of travellers said a destination’s “safety and security” mattered most.

“For many women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and persons with accessibility needs, obtaining information on travel safety can be a matter of life and death.

“As part of our commitment to provide travellers with better access to critical safety information, TripAdvisor is unveiling new features that make it easier to find reviews that contain reports of safety-related incidents. We will also engage TripAdvisor’s global community of travellers, businesses and tourism destinations as we work to share important information and insights about how to stay safe.”

Starting immediately, travellers worldwide will be able to use two new features on the TripAdvisor platform to help find safety-related information:

A traveller safety review filter:

The safety filter allows travellers to more easily access the following reviews in the 28 languages that TripAdvisor makes available:

  • Reviews that were posted in the past year concerning sexual assaults and sexual misconduct by employees of a business, with reviews about other safety categories added on a rolling basis.
  • All new reviews that concern safety issues, including sexual assault, death, drugging, sex trafficking, armed robbery, and physical assault. 


Traveller safety review filter and review notice


Additionally, a notice now appears on all reviews with safety content:

  • A notice now appears at the top of each review that contains safety information to make it easier for travellers to distinguish these from other reviews.

Nelson says travellers can share their experiences on TripAdvisor. The platform also ensures that businesses can respond.

“When a safety concern is raised in a review, we know that travellers want to understand whether the management has taken action to resolve it. We encourage business owners to use our Management Response feature to publicly communicate what they have done to address travellers’ concerns.”

Nelson has pledged that in coming months, TripAdvisor will conduct extensive user research to understand what features provide the most benefit to users (for example, whether a hotel has 24/7 security or the surrounding neighbourhood is walkable at night).

“Additionally, we look forward to working with the global tourism industry to highlight safety as a basic human expectation for travellers.

“Lastly, we understand that traveller needs and safety concerns will continue to evolve, and our platform will, too. We also recognise that we won’t always get it right, but we will continue to ask for feedback from our community and make changes as we go.”

Not all hotels are what they seem…

Nelson adds she often travels alone; she also goes out at night, talks to strangers, and “takes trips to places that may be undergoing periods of instability”.

She says today’s culture of “always-on news” makes it increasingly difficult to discern fact from fiction, “while safety-related information about specific neighbourhoods or businesses is often hard to find or non-existent online.

TripAdvisor is based in Needham, Massachusetts.

Written by Peter Needham

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