TripAdvisor Adds Warnings For Hotels with Reports of Sexual Assault

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They advise anyone considering visiting the properties to "perform additional research for information" when making travel plans.

Three resorts in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico were those flagged by TripAdvisor, including the hotel ranked at No. 2 by users, the Grand Velas Riviera Maya; the hotel ranked at No. 4, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya; and the fifth-ranked hotel, the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. He also announced that the badges will only stay up on a TripAdvisor page for up to three months.

"We apologize to the sexual assault victim reported on in the article, who had her forum post removed seven years ago on TripAdvisor", TripAdvisor said in a November 1 statement. "As always, we encourage consumers to do additional research outside of TripAdvisor", company spokesperson Kevin Carter said in an email. Now, as users peruse hotel and resort options while they're planning their next vacation, they'll see an advisory banner next to any place that's been a location of sexual assault.

Kristie Love read the November 2 headlines from around the globe; "TripAdvisor apologizes for deleting user's post about being raped at resort;" "TripAdvisor apologizes for removing rape claim." and "TripAdvisor apologizes to alleged rape victim".

The badge added to hotels' pages on TripAdvisor warning about sexual assault.

TripAdvisor, which takes up to 15 percent commission on booking, says that it changed its family-friendly forum policy three years ago and had apologized to Love.

One woman told CBS News' Tony Dokoupil about a horrific experience at a Mexican resort that TripAdvisor initially refused to post. This incident, along with the onslaught of sexual assault allegations in Hollywood following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, "served as a wakeup call to TripAdvisor", says travel analyst Henry H. Harteveldt, prompting the site to add the badge and a communications feature that will allow the site to explain why a comment was rejected and for the user to "make edits and resubmit their review".

"Hearsay" is the reason TripAdvisor gave dozens of travelers for not publishing their warnings of bad things that had happened to them or their loved ones at highly rated resorts in Mexico. "If a business is receiving this badge, a simple Internet search should present relevant information that is necessary when making a travel decision". Other users accused TripAdvisor of deleting their reviews that included first-hand accounts of rapes or other injuries by the hand of resort employees or fellow guests.

Steve Kaufer, the CEO of TripAdvisor, said the company, "apologized to the victim [Love] for her experience". Listings will not be removed from the TripAdvisor website regardless of the number of complaints.

The company said it is also revising the way it informs consumers that their reviews and forum posts were deleted for containing hearsay.



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