There are many reasons why TripAdvisor is unfair for restaurant and other hospitality business owners. I have listed a few of the reasons below...
Reviewers should have to verify their account, by providing proof of I.D to TripAdvisor. Anonymous accounts shouldn't be allowed.
A review should be a justifiable explanation of the customers experience. Being turned away by a restaurant as you want to go in for a cup of a tea isn't a 'Customer service experience' A restaurant reserves its tables for diners. This is an example of why restaurants and cafes should be treated differently by TripAdvisor.
A reviewer should have to provide a receipt as proof of their experience. Simply replying to an email saying 'Yes, that was my experience' is laughable.
A negative review shouldn't be published until the business owner has had a chance to respond. It once took me two weeks to get a 1 star review removed, although I had proved after 1 day that the review had been left by a competitor. During the time where the review remained on our page, our ranking dropped and some customers will have been deterred from visiting us.
The new ranking system that came into effect in March 2018 is horrendous. In my local area, there are now restaurants and cafes that haven't had any reviews for months, now climbing to the top. I have had no information from TripAdvisor about the new ranking system and if you type into google 'TripAdvisor new ranking system' there are no recent articles about it.
Improve the TripAdvisor app so that it includes being able to send and receive messages. We have had many instances where customers have given us the wrong grading by mistake. It happens. 75% of the time when we contact the customer to ask them to change it, they don't respond. This is because they are using the phone app and they don't even know we have messaged them. When we query it with TripAdvisor, they either remove the review entirely (which we don't want) or they leave the review to stand. Either way we lose out. We would much rather that the grading was increased as originally intended, rather than for it to be removed.
Restaurant owners do not request to be listed on TripAdvisor, we are listed on there regardless. Given the choice, I would choose to remove us from there. TripAdvisor will not allow this though.
I am not alone with my frustration. I have spoken to numerous local restaurant owners and online forums. This is a problem that needs to be fixed.
If we receive negative reviews and they are justified, fair enough. If we receive fake reviews or reviews from someone who just wants to have moan because they couldn't get a table, this isn't ok.
We recently dropped down from 3rd to 6th on the list of best restaurants in Bridport! There are other restaurants in Bridport that have also dropped down significantly from the ranking they deserve.
TripAdvisor, start regulating the site better and make the it a fair platform business owners. By allowing fake reviews to be published, you are causing undue stress to small business owners. Improve your communication as well as its currently atrocious.