New Feature on TripAdvisor Flags Concerns for Sexual Assault

TripAdvisor has made it easier for its users to see if safety concerns have been stated about hotels they research.

The online travel site added another new warning message for companies where sexual assault or other safety incidents had been reported.

Thus far it has put the message, which it refers to as a badge, on pages for three Mexican resorts. These badges are designed to flag all safety, health and discrimination issued, that include sexual assault, rape and theft, a spokesperson for TripAdvisor said in a prepared statement released to the media.

Businesses receive a badge for a minimum of three months, as we are hoping that this will become a catalyst for them to change, said the company spokesperson.

TripAdvisor flagged Iberostar Paraíso Lindo, Iberostar Paraíso Maya and Velas Riviera Maya. They are popular resorts located in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico, and each has thousands of TripAdvisor reviews.

TripAdvisor said the three were the first to be ‘badged” but not likely the last.

There is a big possibility more will be added to the list as the company vets properties that appear in the news, said a TripAdvisor spokesperson.

The company inventoried the reviews that were posted during the last year and discovered thousands of different issues came up over safety, health and discrimination.

This new approach warning guests related to safety concerns has come after a report a week ago in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that TripAdvisor removed posts and reviews on the forum that warned about injuries and rape at several Mexican resorts.

After the report, TripAdvisor publicly apologized to 35-year mother Kristie Love from Dallas. It had been reported that the company repeatedly removed Love’s post from 2010 where she had said she was raped by a hotel security guard while staying at Iberostar Paraiso Maya. The forum post has since been republished by TripAdvisor.

The company also has maintained that it doesn’t take reviews or forum posts down because they include rape or sexual assault.

However, in 2010 forum posts fell under a policy of family friendly, which were meant to prohibit language that was sexually explicit, curse words or posting of nude photos said the TripAdvisor spokesperson. He added that the moderation level was an overreach during 2010.

A couple of years later, TripAdvisor changed that policy to enable users to post remarks about issues that included rape and sexual assault.