TripAdvisor is Deleting Negative Reviews

by Anthony Losanno
St. Regis Chicago

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I stayed at the St. Regis Chicago during its opening week (full review here). I wrote a fair assessment of the property and gave it a three-star review on TripAdvisor. Other users were slamming the hotel for its handling of the elite breakfast benefit, which is has since started offering. They did not stay at the hotel and their reviews were really not fair. But, my review was legitimate and it was deleted along with all others that did not give the hotel a near perfect score.

St Regis Chicago TripAdvisor

Reader Nick pointed this out to me:

There were 19 reviews on TripAdvisor at that time. When I looked now all the negative reviews have disappeared and only fours and fives are present.”

The image above is how TripAdvisor had been showing the St. Regis.

St. Regis Chicago New TripAdvisor

Here is what it looks like currently after 14 reviews (including mine) were deleted. I highlighted some of the original reviews in this post, here.

Officially, it seems that TripAdvisor will remove reviews that include:

  • Profane or Vulgar Language
  • Intolerant Language
  • Irrelevant Information
  • Bias or Blackmail
  • Old Stays
  • Rumors

My review contained none of those things and I have a folio and email from the hotel’s general manager acknowledging my stay. The service was lackluster, elite recognition and benefits were lacking, the pool was overchlorinated, and the staff needs more training as they’re new. Those are all valid points, but my review is no longer included.

TripAdvisor Review

I can even see that it was posted on May 21st and that a user found it useful on May 23rd. I guess that didn’t matter, because it’s no longer on the site.

I’m curious if anyone reading this has any experience with TripAdvisor deleting reviews on behalf of a business. Is this a pay to play scenario?

UPDATE: A TripAdvisor representative emailed me with a statement. It reads:

As The Bulkhead Seat mentions, this property wasn’t honoring expected benefits. As a consequence, Tripadvisor received a spike of review submissions, including numerous non-firsthand experiences – both positive and negative – which are not permitted on our site per our policy. This review spike deviated strongly from normal review behavior and consequently, Tripadvisor removed everything that was submitted to the property within that spike that appeared to be non-firsthand experiences.”

I have no choice, but to take them at their word. But, my review still should not have been deleted. I gave a lot of context and I have reviewed many other things on TripAdvisor. The profiles with no other reviews or that just highlighted the benefit, but did not stay there were not fair. In the future, I hope TripAdvisor does a better job weeding out the fakes while not deleting the legitimate reviews.

Anthony’s Take: I wrote a legitimate review of the St. Regis Chicago after staying there during its opening week. TripAdvisor has since deleted it along with all other reviews that didn’t score the hotel favorably. It wasn’t right for others to write reviews dissing the hotel if they hadn’t stayed there, but this also doesn’t seem fair. Let me know if you’ve experienced this before.

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Jeff May 30, 2023 - 12:31 am

Dont worry google reviews has then at 2 starts out of 23 reviews lol

Mohamed Basma May 30, 2023 - 2:36 am

It happened to me about the InterContinental Park Lane where I used to be a regular guest while being a Royal Ambassador, I woke up one morning to find out TripAdvisor have deleted more than 4 reviews aver 4 or 5 years for this particular, with no explanation, Trip advisor knew my reviews were genuine because supported by facts that can’t be disputed and each time there was response from management, TripAdvisor is clearly sometime being paid to cheat on public, reason why I stop relying on them for advise but still using to post review when it wirks

Lars May 30, 2023 - 8:07 am

It appears TA has switched up who it views as its customer base. When it started out, and until recently, it viewed the traveling public as its customers. Now it would appear that it views hotels and businesses to be its customers, so it sides with their interests.

nunzio May 30, 2023 - 8:38 am

Kind of Skytraxgate here

James Young May 30, 2023 - 8:12 pm

I’ve been submitting numerous reviews to trip advisor for over 20 years based on extensive travel experiences. Most are positive and some are very negative. I’ve never had a submission rejected. I find conclusions that Trip Advisor is being “paid off” troubling, especially without a shred of e evidence other than “my submission was not posted..

Frankfurt Airport Lufthansa
Anthony Losanno May 30, 2023 - 9:16 pm

I’ve submitted positive and negative before. This review was live for a week before it was pulled along with all other negative ones.

Carlh May 30, 2023 - 8:53 pm

More than five years ago I had Tripadvisor do this to me on two different reviews. Both were factual and accurate with no profanity or anything else. At that time I realized that something was wrong and stopped writing reviews on that site. I suspected pay-to-play, but could not prove it.


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