Rather than provide a forum for reviews on room service, cleanliness, and other common travel hang-ups, an internal company committee will now be responsible for fielding sexual assault claims and then making judgement calls on whether to attach a badge to the hotel or resort. The company promised to launch the badge after a report revealed that it deleted several users' reviews warning others of rape and assault that allegedly happened over the years in some of the highest-rated resorts on the website.
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.
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A red banner will now span the top of TripAdvisor listings, cautioning tourists that the accommodation has had a case reported and suggesting travellers do further research. These badges are only temporary and last for a three-month period. "However, if the issues persist we may extend the duration of the badge", said spokesman Kevin Carter to New York Times. The badges are first being deployed on listings for three resorts in Mexico: the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya, and the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. Her comment was deleted because it contained language that was deemed inappropriate, TripAdvisor claimed.
TripAdvisor had said it had apologised to the woman and has now published her review.
One woman, Kristie Love, was on vacation at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya resort on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula when, she said, she was raped by a security guard. Other users faced similar mistreatment by the site in 2010 due to TripAdvisor's "family-friendly" posting rules, causing unnecessary heartache for assault victims. The forum post has since been republished by TripAdvisor.
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The travel website had come under fire after a number of users reported having their accounts of rape and assault removed from the site.
A couple of years later, TripAdvisor changed that policy to enable users to post remarks about issues that included rape and sexual assault.
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