This week, PRWeek looked at the importance of the travel advice website having to pull claims on its UK website that its reviews are by 'real travellers', after being censured by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Discussing the issue on this week’s PRWeek’s podcast were James Brooke, MD of travel and lifestyle agency Rooster, and Gareth Thomas, head of digital at Brands2Life.
Thomas, who called the ruling ‘sensible’ but felt it was unlikely to have an impact on the company, said in the online world it was more important than ever to mobilise third-party endorsement.
‘This comes back to the importance of recruiting and mobilising brand ambassadors,’ he said, adding that monitoring the web for reputational threats was also vital.
‘This is about getting people who love your product to say nice things about you to share the love that they have, and that’s why social media as a whole has become such an important way for brands to market themselves.’
TripAdvisor’s website attracts 50 million users a month across 30 different countries, with 100,000 businesses signed up to the site in the UK.
The ruling comes as the ASA extended its remit online last year, and prompted Scott Thomson of Edelman – TripAdvisor’s agency - to call the regulator ‘out of touch’.
However, Brooke agreed with Thomas that it was the correct ruling, and added that engagement is often the best answer for a brand whose reputation is under attack.
‘The key thing is to get involved. From a brand’s perspective, they need to get involved with the conversation that’s happening online whether they like it or not. It’s not going to go away.’
Danny Rogers: TripAdvisor needs to trade on trust