TripAdvisor is Scary (and terrible)

TripAdvisor is scary to me. And I was curious if I’m seeing something wrong or if it’s really not there. Whenever we get a request (like once every couple of months!), we can’t see ANYTHING about the guest. Not even a photo. Not even a thumbnail of a photo. Is it true, they don’t have profiles or any information whatsoever about the guests?

There’s nothing more unsettling than to get these requests and not be able to see a single thing about the person. I’d rather take requests over the phone - at least you could hear a voice. But this feels like it’s scammer central.

Oh and one other thing. We’ve been on TA for about a year. In that time we’ve gotten six or seven requests but not a single booking. In the same time on Airbnb, we’ve gotten about 200 bookings. I thought it would be a good idea to diversify and have more than one lead generator - but TA seems absolutely worthless (and scary)!

I used to feel the same about them, but I can tell you things improved when I got more reviews (helpfully provided by friends to get the ball rolling!) my last four TA guests were absolutely delightful. All four booked without telling me a thing about them, and all three were stellar guests.

Get some reviews and give it a try!


Hi @JonYork,

Maybe I’m missing something, but can’t you ask the guest questions? You can learn a lot by how they reply. And photos aren’t really useful - they can easily use a fake one.

You can ask. It’s just like Air. But I think the travelers see TA as more of a booking dot experience, where they just book and don’t have to explain themselves.

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Ah. Well, if they won’t explain themselves, then I personally would not be happy, and probably say no.

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That’s good to know! I guess I’ll leave our listing On then. It’s just weird not to see any profile or anything. You don’t even know where they’re from. Not that it matters where they’re from, but it would be nice to know something about them.

Yes, I can ask questions. It’s not like I have anything specific I want to ask - I just want to see how they write and respond. However, none of the few inquiries we’ve gotten have ever written back! Well, one wrote back - to say they were going to stay somewhere else!

I guess the reason this concerns me is several of the inquiries we’ve gotten were really flaky and sounded scammy. One guy was asking to pay outside of TA another wanted our exact home address before making the booking. That with the fact there are no profiles left me with an uneasy feeling about TA.

Well if I had done that I would have missed out on 4K in bookings and four really great sets of guests.

Some platforms require a bit more trust by the host.

You can still require a security deposit if you are worried.

What really got it going was a lot of reviews! Which we can help you with Faheem!!!


Well, in that case, they probably weren’t good options. I was thinking more of booking requests. TA does those, right?

Yes TA does, it’s the same as Air. 24 hours. But also once the guest books and it is confirmed, they have 24 hours to change their mind. I haven’t found that to be an issue really.

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Yes, the scams are easy to spot. Quite often the legit ones look like exactly that. Just people needing a place and using a booking platform.

It could be a coincidence but once they got rid of FlipKey, it seemed to really improve.

Can you elaborate on that? Who got rid of FlipKey? With a reference if possible. All these different sites are really confusing.

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I’m sorry… FK, TA, holiday letting and maybe a couple of others are all one place with different brands…

At some point the FK brand went away and it was replaced with the TA branded site. My listing also changed to TA without me noticing. However I think it is a good thin. Fk tended to attract terrible guests. I had nothing but trouble with it.

Same here… I get a handful of requests via TA and we’ve been on there for 7 years. Only one turned into a booking. But I think @konacoconutz has a point about getting reviews on there. Nice thing is that anyone can leave a review - you don’t have to be invited as a guest.

A good reason to stay on TA is that it gives your listing credibility. We get the most inquiries via VRBO, then Air, then direct, then TA. We’re on a few other smaller sites, too, but none has turned into bookings other than a local booking agent. I suspect that people do what I do on TA… see the name of the place you want to stay, then google it and inquire directly.

On TA I ask questions of the renter and nearly never get a response. It doesn’t matter because we always fill up regardless. But as long as people see you on the big sites they can find you and book directly, if that is something you want to do.

I am SO ticked with VRBO - just got a notice that they are officially moving from an advertising to a booking platform. They are ruining their unique way of advertising which is a great option for people who are truly renting a whole-house vacation rental. LOTS of people very disappointed in them.

I heard this… yup. They can’t stand to see how much money Air is making by being a booking platform. I think they are cooking their goose by pissing off owners who will now use Air because it’s the same thing without the possibility of chargebacks.

Owners should leave them in droves to teach them a lesson.

I’ve been on VRBO for ages, and my current listing expires in September. If I stay on with them it will only be pay-per-booking and I will hope that people will try to find me directly. It doesn’t make sense to pay $500 a year to list with them, have my contact information and link to my own website now removed, then pay them an additional fee to do something that I have been doing myself for years.

How dare they charge to list there, and then not let you see the contact info for your guests until after they make a booking? One of the great things about how they USED to do things was that I could send a link to our direct website that gives MUCH more information about our home rather then being limited to what they want us to post.

Then, on top of all that, they charge a booking fee to the client?! Ridiculous! It was a great system and they are ruining their company and affecting millions of VR owners who have successfully used them for years.

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Sure seems like a breach of contract to advertise it one way and then change it to something else when it suits them.

Instead it of maintaining their position as the leading advertising site they are trading it for a number two or three position as a booking site.

Both guests and hosts will go elsewhere.

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Right on! If you do an online search there are dozens of sites where people are mentioning suing for breach of contract. I suspect they will change their terms of service drastically when people renew. I’m gearing up for it. It’s what sent me to Air when they started with the changes.

You’re right! They were originally the front-runner and now they are playing someone else’s game. There really are different focuses - one for staying at a room in someone’s home, and another for renting out a whole vacation home. They will lose a ton of business to Air, because their fees are lower and it’s free to advertise.

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I need reviews, too. I’ve asked some former guests I’ve had from the Airbnb platform, but only one wrote a TA review for me.

Liz… do you have friends and family with TA accounts?? They can write a review!!! :rofl: I only have one real one!

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I’ll see if I do. Thanks!