Can We Trust TripAdvisor?

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Making a reservation at a Marriott is about to get significantly easier for those review-seeking travelers. Beginning this summer, TripAdvisor is letting users instantly book a room through their website. Browsers will find the option tucked between comments about the hotel’s “exceptional happy hour” and “less than fluffy towels.” The popular website launched the Instant Booking platform to U.S. consumers a year ago.

The partnership with Marriott will let TripAdvisor users book rooms at any of the chain’s 4,200 hotels throughout 80 countries.

While the deal streamlines booking at Marriott properties on TripAdvisor, it also, in a way, questions the trustworthiness of TripAdvisor.

There is still a presence of fake reviews and censored content on the influential travel resource. As recently as last December, the company was fined $600,000 for fake reviews and a lack of action to combat the issue. It’s fairly established that many hotels and restaurants bribe guests for positive remarks or to alter negative reviews. Equally problematic seems to be TripAdvisor’s pattern of deleting negative reviews per public relations teams’ requests.

In the end, the partnership itself is a great deal for TripAdvisor users because it eliminates a few steps in booking a room at a Marriott. Let’s just hope TripAdvisor doesn’t intentionally skew results toward their latest supporter.

Tom Burson is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen San Diego but with more sunscreen and jorts.

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