TripAdvisor Is Again Accused of Failing Hotel Sexual Assault Victims
The travel site TripAdvisor has again found itself accused of not doing enough to help women who were sexually assaulted at hotels listed on its service — or to warn others about the potential dangers.
The issue last flared up in late 2017, when rape victims found their warnings removed from TripAdvisor’s site because they weren’t family-friendly. The company ended up apologizing and adding temporary badges next to hotels where “health, discrimination and safety” issues had been flagged up.
Now, an investigation by the Guardian has uncovered new problems with the way TripAdvisor handles such reports.
In one case reported by the British newspaper, a woman told TripAdvisor that a tour guide whose services were listed on the site had raped her—only to have TripAdvisor tell her that she should leave a first-person review detailing her assault.
The woman, identified only as “K,” said she was astonished that the company wanted her to relive the trauma and expose herself to trolling—in the event, she reportedly did not write the review as a first-person account so TripAdvisor did not publish it. The resort that employed the alleged rapist apparently does not have any flag to alert people who might stay of what happened.
Another woman who spoke to the Guardian said it was “futile” to leave a review detailing her own rape at a TripAdvisor-listed report.
“They definitely should have a different kind of review system, for these types of incidences so they’re not buried in with everyone’s reviews about you know, the quality of the towels or the sheets. Especially if it’s a safety issue, particularly for women,” she said.
TripAdvisor told the publication: “It is important that reviewers follow our publishing guidelines to ensure the accuracy of our reviews, and when these reviews are not readily available and news reports exist that detail recent and pervasive health and safety matters, TripAdvisor’s notification process helps alert travelers about potential issues at a location.”
“We are often asked why we don’t remove a business listing when something terrible happens,” TripAdvisor told Fortune in a statement. “Having a business listing on our platform isn’t an endorsement of that business. What makes TripAdvisor different from other platforms is that we believe it would be a disservice to the public to remove these listings, and therefore withhold valuable information. Allowing a business to operate in the shadows, without having a transparent record of travelers’ experiences at that location, potentially puts travelers at risk.”
This article was updated to include TripAdvisor’s statement.