Is Expedia’s latest move an attempt to combat the negative image of its former brand?
As complaints about fake reviews rise, Expedia tries to distance itself from the problem.
As travelers are doing more and more of their research online, hotels and resorts are relying on online reviews to entice new guests to stay at their properties.
In the process, critics have complained that an entire cottage industry of paid reviewers has sprung up, calling into question the validity of reviews found on booking sites like Orbitz, Travelocity and Hotels.com.
Review site TripAdvisor has received its share of those complaints.
The New York Times reported recently that the average review on TripAdvisor receives 3.7 stars, thanks no doubt in part to the rise in fake reviews on the site.
As Expedia spins off TripAdvisor, it has also announced a new service to combat this growing problem.
They call it Expedia Verified Reviews. And only guests who stay at the property will be able to submit a review, using a form emailed to the guest after he or she has completed their trip.
Expedia says consumers in Australia and New Zealand are already using the new feedback loop and it’s expected they will launch the program in more markets soon.
Although Expedia has spun off TripAdvisor, its users will still be able to click on the TripAdvisor logo and be directed to the corresponding hotel page on TripAdvisor.
Certainly, the concept of verified reviews is not new. But the announcement does seem timely.
The travel blog Tnooz found it interesting that Expedia would announce this new service shortly after it had spun off TripAdvisor, which is receiving a lot of complaints about the number of false reviews on its sites.
What do you think? Is Expedia trying to distance itself from TripAdvisor? What do you recommend the industry do to combat the problem of fake reviews? Share your thoughts with us.