Elizabeth Carter, consultant editor of the Good Food Guide, is baffled as to why consumers pay so much heed to the site when it is so easy to pull the wool over their eyes.
Reviews can be inaccurate for so many reasons — somebody has posted negatively as a result of a grudge, a competitor wants to do damage, or maybe the author is just one of those people who find fault with everything. Positive reviews can be equally misleading as friends can be persuaded to rave about a venue online to up their ranking.
There are so many other yardsticks by which to measure a venue’s worth, such as word of mouth, awards and guidebooks, so there is no need for TripAdvisor.
Carter is right about its impact — the only way to overcome the website’s influence and wipe out blackmail attempts is to decrease the importance attached to its reviews.
So keep in touch with TripAdvisor and reply where appropriate but focus your energy on keeping people happy and chasing real awards.