TripAdvisor flips safety to the top.

SINGAPORE, 16 May 2019: TripAdvisor is introducing a new search feature that will allow travellers to check out reviews on travel safety and security.

Launched Wednesday, travellers worldwide can benefit from two new TripAdvisor features that will offer more clarity on safety issues.

The first feature provides the traveller with a safety review filter that brings to the top reviews in the 28 languages linked to safety.

Lindsay Nelson

The search threads will include reviews that were posted in the past year concerning sexual assaults and sexual misconduct by employees of a business, with reviews about other safety categories added on a rolling basis.

All new reviews that concern safety issues, including sexual assault, death, drugging, sex trafficking, armed robbery, and physical assault will flip to the top.

The second feature creates a notice that appears at the top of each review that contains safety information to make it easier for travellers to distinguish these from typical product reviews.

“As part of our commitment to provide travellers with better access to critical safety information, TripAdvisor is unveiling new features that make it easier to find reviews that contain reports of safety-related incidents,” TripAdvisor president core experience, Lindsay Nelson, commented in her blog Wednesday. “We will also engage TripAdvisor’s global community of travellers, businesses and tourism destinations as we work to share important information and insights about how to stay safe.”

According to a recent study, 67% of travellers say a destination’s “safety and security” matter most. For many women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and persons with accessibility needs, obtaining information on travel safety can be a matter of life and death,” she pointed out in her blog

The system allows travellers to share their experiences and flag security or safety issues to alert other travellers, but TripAdvisor says its partner businesses can still respond.

“When a safety concern is raised in a review, we know that travellers want to understand whether the management has taken action to resolve it. We encourage business owners to use our Management Response feature to publicly communicate what they have done to address travellers’ concerns,” Nelson explained.

As relevant safety information, particularly on destinations, becomes a priority, TripAdvisor says that during the coming months, it will conduct user research to understand what features will provide the most benefit to its global community.

This could mean a hotel that has 24/7 security or the surrounding neighbourhood is walkable at night will be identified clearly.

But Nelson added a caveat that suggests understanding  the traveller’s safety concerns will continue to evolve, “we recognise that we won’t always get it right, but we will continue to ask for feedback from our community and make changes as we go.”