I’m going to talk about something we have all heard of and most probably all used at some point or other. The online community I have chosen is TripAdvisor, an American website which focuses content on travel. The website enables users to provide reviews about anything travel-related as well as having online forums. Many hotels or restaurants read their own reviews to ensure they improve their facilities.

The website, which was founded in 2000, has over 60 million users and 170 million reviews. TripAdvisor is used primarily by people to access reviews on places to visit around the world. The forums on the website, however, also enable users to ask questions in general about the country. For example, one thread states ‘I will be in Germany next month for a couple of weeks and would like to know the best and least expensive way to be able to call back to the US. How can I do this?’. Other users then suggested where to buy SIM cards and which carriers to use. The benefits of using TripAdvisor during the planning stages of taking a trip are endless. Many travellers use the website and the forum to select where to visit, which sites to see and where to stay or eat.

TripAdvisor ensures that all comments go through a verification process to detect fraudulent or suspicious activity. However this does not always prevent these kinds of comments from going through. It has emerged that some hotels and restaurants gave themselves good reviews in order to gain business. Other hotels have been condemned for bribing visitors to write positive reviews. The ASA (UK Advertising Standards Authority) ordered TripAdvisor to remove their slogan from their British site which previously read “reviews you can trust” due to these allegations. TripAdvisor, in the UK, then changed their slogan to “reviews from our community”.

Therefore despite TripAdvisor being extremely beneficial for travellers, caution should always be taken when reading reviews or forum threads as accuracy and honesty cannot always be guaranteed.

Have you used TripAdvisor before? When you use the website, do you personally take caution against the reviews? This is not something which always comes to mind when planning a trip.




  1. I have to say, when booking a holiday or reviewing any place I always check if there are any reviews on Tripadvisor. You raised a good point that not all reviews can be trusted, especially as there are so many robots online who can post things without a real person having to control them. However, I do think it is a nice idea to think of the forum as a community where users have the good intention of giving people advise based on their own experiences. Although I have never interacted with anyone on the site, you still feel grateful that they may have had an influence on your decision!

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  2. TripAdvisor is great! I’m not a big traveler, but studying abroad has definitely changed that. I’ve used the website way more in the past few weeks than I have at home. I have experienced a hostel that kept asking me to write a good review; the hostel was actually quite good but it was kind of frustrating that they kept asking and pestering travelers. I can understand that they want more people to see them because more reviews will help, but it was still annoying. Regardless, I think TripAdvisor is a great way to plan vacations and such and would definitely be lost without it!

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  3. I hadn’t really thought of TripAdvisor as a community before, but it absolutely is! I generally shy away from places with not many reviews, because these are more likely to have been faked, but the ones with thousands of comments do seem quite democratic. If anything, I’ve personally come across more response comments from representatives of the reviewed places than the suspicious looking kind.
    I enjoy using TripAdvisor’s app not just on holiday but even in my own city – its “Near Me Now” function where it locates you and lets you filter nearby restaurants/places and then puts them in best to worst reviewed order is super practical when you’re anywhere and undecided about where to head for lunch, or just want to discover some new place.

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