Trip Advisor scolded by UK watchdogs, Trump TO ripped & Halifax loses NYC
Very interesting development out of Britian today, as a government watchdog group has cast serious doubt on the veracity of Tripadvisor ratings, at least in the UK.
The consumer affairs reporter for the Telegraph, James Hall, wrote a solid column today stating that the Advertising Standards Authority conducted a four-month investigation and "found that it was possible for 'non-genuine content' to appear on Tripadvisor, which is designed to allow holidaymakers to share tips and opinions on places they have visited."
(Jim B here: Non-genuine content? Isn't that a great lawyers' phrase?)
"The advertising watchdog said that because reviews can be posted on the site without any form of verification, Tripadvisor must no longer claim that all of its reviews are honest, or even from real people," Hall wrote.
"In a strongly-worded ruling, the ASA told Tripadvisor 'not to claim or imply that all the reviews that appeared on the website were from real travellers, or were honest, real or trusted.'
The ASA’s ruling applies only to Tripadvisor’s UK site, Hall said, explaining that the investigation follows a complaint last year from two unnamed hoteliers and a website called Kwikchex, which helps companies manage their online reputations.
"They argued that wording on Tripadvisor’s website - claiming that the site contained 'reviews you can trust' and 'honest' opinions from 'real travellers' - was misleading as Tripadvisor could not prove that the reviews were genuine," Hall wrote.
He quoted Chris Emmins, co-founder of Kwikchex, as saying there are a “substantial” number of fake reviews on Tripadvisor, which is being “abused by fraudsters."
Strong stuff. It'll be interesting to see if there's any fallout here in North America. But I doubt it. The U.S. isn't bad at regulating the travel business, but we see precious little of this sort of pro-activity from the Harper government in Ottawa, notwithstanding their sudden decision to get rid of airfare dvertising that doesn't include taxes and extra fees; charges that often turn what looks like a $400 fare into something upwards of $1,000.
THIS AND THAT
American Airlines will drop Halifax from its route map this spring, according to the Chronicle-Herald in Nova Scotia. American affiliate American Eagle currently flies two daily round-trip flights between Halifax and New York JFK, but AA will pull down the service on April 3. Too bad .... Check out Chris Hume's column today on the new Trump Hotel in Toronto. He absolutely hates the design and the way the building fails to integrate into the downtown core. They had a very soft opening at the posh Trump building at Bay and Adelaide on Tuesday, which is so very un-Trump like when you think about it. Some of the hotel's top features aren't yet fully open, so apparently they chose to keep things simple, at least for now. Personally, I'm looking forward to the BIG opening. I mean, that's what Trump is all about, right? ...Show tunes at sea? USA Today's Gene Sloan reports Oceania has teamed with Royal Theatrical Productions to feature "Now and Forever — The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber" on board the soon-to-debut, 1,250-passenger Riviera. With 10 singers and dancers, the show will boast tunes from such Webber classics as Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar. Riviera also will have a show featuring the music of Elton John and Billy Joel, as well as a '60s music review. Sounds pretty good to me. Maybe we'll get different renditions of some of John's most popular songs. "Don't Let the Ship Go Down On Me" would be good, especially if someone can dress like the Costa Cruise captain. Sorry about that...