In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein investigations, travel website TripAdvisor has announced that it will now be flagging hotels where cases of sexual assault have been reported. The reviews platform has begun placing red warning badges on the pages of hotels where people have reported sexual assault, cautioning tourists about the accommodation and urging travellers to conduct further checks before booking.
Customers who visit flagged pages will now see a small red banner stating: 'TripAdvisor has been made aware of recent media reports or events concerning this property which may not be reflected in reviews found on this listing.
'Accordingly, you may wish to perform additional research for information about this property when making your travel plans.'
In a statement, a TripAdvisor spokesman said: "We have decided to introduce a new 'badge' notification that will be displayed on a business' listing page when an issue relating to that business is reported on by credible media sources, such as issues around health and safety or allegations of discrimination.
"The aim of the badge is to alert travellers to issues they may want to more fully research outside of TripAdvisor. Development of the badge is complete."
The new move comes after TripAdvisor was publicly criticised for deleting several reviews in which users reported being sexually assaulted at hotels in Mexico.
One woman accused a security guard of raping her at a Mexican resort back in 2010, but when she wrote about what had happened, the post was rejected because it breached the website's 'family-friendly' guidelines.
Since then, other women have come forward claiming to have been assaulted in the same place, telling TripAdvisor that had her review been published online, they may not have visited the resort in the first place.
TripAdvisor has since apologised to the victim and reinstated the posts about her ordeal.
"We apologise to the sexual assault victim, reported on in the article, who had her forum post removed seven years ago on TripAdvisor," the statement said. "We are horrified that this victim experienced this assault on her vacation in Mexico, and other travellers should be aware of this incident."
The new badges will remain on TripAdvisor for up to three months but if the issues persist it could extend the duration of the badge. However, hotel experts have warned that the badges could be hugely damaging to hotels who have false or unsubstantiated claims made against them.
"Hotels will get worried about this if customers are giving them red flags with no grounds," HVS hotel expert Russell Kett told The Telegraph.
"Libellous reports made against hotels could be very detrimental to businesses. If unsubstantiated allegations are made, TripAdvisor should remove the hotel in question from the website altogether.
"If proof that an attack has happened comes to light then they could apply the red flag."
From: ELLE UK