Goliath has crushed David.....

3rd May 2013


Regular blog readers and clients will be aware that we have recently had a lot of problems with Trip Advisor.  After entrusting our clients valued reviews to them they really let us down.  Without any notification or explanation 14 reviews were removed from the site because they apparently didn't fit in with Trip Advisor's posting guidelines.  This was very frustrating as the reviews were all excellent and they had all been accepted by Trip Advisor in the first place.  We also felt guilty because each of those reviews had taken our clients time and effort to write.  Infact, some of them had been on Trip Advisor for about a year!
We tried to resolve it but Trip Advisor were monumentally rubbish at answering our calls and the staff on the phone were sometimes rude and obstructive.  Emails got answered eventually but it was actually Twitter power that finally got them motivated to contact us.  A number of negative tweets and we got a call.  The problem, it turned out, was that we are listed as a tour company and tours can only be a day in length (although they couldn’t offer us another category that would better suit the business).
We have since spent considerable time trying to find a solution but this has just shown even more how inflexible Trip Advisor's systems are.  They told us we couldn't get the reviews reinstated, that clients couldn't get their missing reviews back and that Trip Advisor wouldn't remove our listing even though their rules mean that they aren't the right fit for our business. The irony is that if you spend even a minute Googling tour listings on Trip Advisor you'll find an infinite number of reviews relating to lengthy tours.  There are reviews of Everest treks and some mountaineering expeditions that must easily be over a month long!
So, we had to decide what to do.  Impartial, independent reviews are really important for us.  They reflect the quality of our work.  Unfortunately there is just no obvious replacement to Trip Advisor at the moment.  There are certainly other review sites but they just don't have the same reach.  We also have the problem that we have spent a considerable length of time asking clients to write reviews on Trip Advisor - and we are incredibly proud of the excellent reviews we have accrued.  Therefore, we have reluctantly decided to keep using Trip Advisor (I know many of our clients will think we are bonkers!) but we are also going to add the reviews to the relevant pages of our website as a back up and to make the relevant reviews easier to find.  Our office supertroopers have already started to do this and you can see an example of how it will look here.    
Of course Trip Advisor may still not accept (or even randomly remove!) any reviews with reference to activities over one day but luckily the solution is quite simple - please don't mention the course length!  It was actually a Trip Advisor advisor (does that make sense?) who suggested we do this.  We pointed out that maybe this was being dishonest but they reckoned it wasn't.....it was just being selective about the information provided!  Trip Advisor (quite rightly) won't allow companies to offer incentives to clients to leave reviews (although we have heard of several that do!) so we have to rely on asking really, really nicely.  We'll also make a substantial deposit into your karma bank for every review we receive! 
So...a heartfelt plea.......
If you have attended any of our courses, left a review and it has now disappeared please could you do us a huge favour and repost it.......just don't mention the length of your course!
If you have attended a course and not left a review before please help us make up for lost time by leaving one.........just don't mention the length of your course!
If you know of anyone that has attended a course and is willing to leave a review please ask them.........just don't mention the length of your course!
It's the new way..... but we are allowed.  Trip Advisor said so!
Our Trip Advisor page is here. Thanks.
Posted by Paul