Responding to what one travel expert categorized as "a wake-up call", TripAdvisor has begun placing symbols next to hotels and resorts that have been identified as locations of sexual assault and other major concerns. They advise anyone considering visiting the properties to "perform additional research for information" when making travel plans. They remain on the site for up to three months, but if the issues persist then the warnings will stay in place longer. The company, through an employee committee, will now make determinations through TripAdvisor community comments as well as any news reports about the relevant incidents.
A representative for the site told the Daily News that three hotels in Mexico have been badged since Wednesday.
The message appears in a big red box at the top of the review page, indicating a warning, but a traveler would not necessarily know the label refers to "events" as serious as alleged rape, sexual assault, injuries, health concerns or discrimination issues. TripAdvisor apologized and said the repeated removals were due to a policy that only permitted "family-friendly" language and content, according to TheNYT.
Within five years, two other women had reported they had been raped at the resort since the woman said she was attacked. Love alleged that a hotel security guard dragged her into the bushes and sexually assaulted her.
"Our vetting of news reports continues, and it is likely more businesses will receive this badge as more information is reviewed", Hoyt said. They are popular resorts located in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico, and each has thousands of TripAdvisor reviews.
TripAdvisor is also rolling out a new policy on communicating with users about why reviews or forum posts are rejected. The badge does not detail exactly what has happened at the accommodation, but encourages users to research before making a booking. "'No, we're not going to call the police, ma'am, '" she recalled in her conversation with the outlet. TripAdvisor replaced the comments with a generic explanation that the posts were "inappropriate" and "off-topic". When nothing came of her complaint, she posted a warning on TripAdvisor, but it was promptly deleted.
TripAdvisor is now one of few reviewing portals to highlight sexual assault accusations, though similar services also add warnings for businesses caught in notoriety.
Reviews are supposed to contain first-hand accounts only, so including a medical diagnosis or relaying a story from another person would lead to the post being taken down and a user receiving a generic rejection notice citing hearsay.