TripAdvisor is giving would-be travelers one more reason to do their research before they book their next vacation.
The popular travel website confirmed Thursday it is adding badges to its pages next to resorts, hotels and any other businesses that have been identified as locations of sexual assault and other major concerns such as theft or discrimination.
The warning reads simply: “TripAdvisor has been made aware of recent media reports or events concerning this property which may not by reflected in reviews found on this listing.”
It goes on to encourage the traveler to consider more research before booking.
The changes come after TripAdvisor issued a public apology a week ago to a Dallas woman. A U.S. newspaper reported the website had repeatedly deleted posts from 2010 about a Mexican resort where she said she was raped by a security guard.
Steve Kaufer, the company’s CEO, says not only is it adding the badges to its pages, but it’s launching a new policy that includes being more clear about why reviews are rejected.
“We believe any first-hand experience should be posted to our site as a means for travelers to give other travelers accurate information on where they should travel,” Kaufer said in a statement.
Allegations of rape or sexual assault while on holiday are a growing concern for both resorts and travelers. Last spring, three women came forward to CityNews alleging a hotel staff member sexually assaulted her while she was at one of the RIU Hotels in the Dominican Republic.
Frederic Dimanche, director of Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, says these types of badges have the potential to force change.
“Now I guess all hoteliers, who initially did not like TripAdvisor, will say, ‘Hey, we have to be very careful on how we handle our customers, not only as employees, but how we manage safety and security,'” Dimanche said.
Whether to add or remove a badge will be determined by a TripAdvisor employee committee. The badges will remain on a business’ page for up to three months. The site can opt to extend it if issues persist.