Accor Exec Busted for Phony Reviews Raises the Question: Do You Trust TripAdvisor Anymore?
Where: Various Locations
We let off some steam a few weeks ago, letting hotels know we think they should back off the throttle a little bit when it comes to their sometimes-annoying persistence in getting guests to give reviews on TripAdvisor.
Given the importance that is being placed upon online reviews these days, we can't really say we're surprised to hear the news that an Accor executive was recently exposed for posting more than 100 phony reviews of Accor-operated hotels on TripAdvisor under an alias. He/she also wrote fake reviews about competing hotels, and Accor has placed the unnamed employee on leave.
"The employee has taken a leave of absence whilst we investigate this situation further," Accor said in the statement. "We value the feedback online travel reviews and forums provide and will take whatever steps we can to ensure their credibility and transparency."
Hmm... this one leaves a bad taste in our mouth. We've always known to take online reviews with a grain of salt, to really dive in and read the reasoning behind both positive and negative reviews when using them as an aide to plan our travels, but this discovery makes it hard to trust anything on TripAdvisor. If one executive was doing it, you can bet the farm that Accor isn't the only company guilty of this fraud. Plus, we've already talked about hotels offering guests rewards for positive reviews, so the idea that they care about the "credibility and transparency" of TripAdvisor makes us roll our eyes.
So where do we go from here? Do you still consider the site a valuable resource? One thing is for sure: There's no way we're going to revolve our research around TripAdvisor. Which is really a shame, because there are probably a lot of honest people providing honest feedback out there. We're just not sure where to find it anymore.