July Update

TA has determined that it is imperative for the company to assess if Destination Experts in Hawaii spend more time attacking some areas vs. providing expertise as a DE.  

 

Voting on TripAdvisor Changed

A little known method behind the sceens refered to as "voting" will be changed on the Hawaiian forums and who knows about other forums as well.

Voting is where the DE's get to vote someone off TA.  This has been a cespool of bullying, group think, and mean retaliation toward anyone who goes against the group think of DE's. 

 

TripAdvisor Does Care, But....

TripAdvisor does care, but there is so much activity on the forums that they have no way to control bullying without the help of people who aren’t DEs. 

I went from a protestor of TripAdvisor because I felt bullied to helping TripAdvisor clean up forums.  Crazy how things can change quickly. 

Here is an email I sent out today: 

~~~

In case someone doesn’t know, here is how to contact TripAdvisor:

help@tripadvisorsupport.com

We can get these bad posts off and help stop bullying  if people simply do the following:

1. Take a screen shot on you iPhone or computer if something doesnt match their guidelines. Or, if someone is bullying you, blackmailing you or your business, or something just seems wrong about the post or thread.

2. Write a brief explanation of why it is wrong.  For instance: “telling people to lie to get out of a reservation is wrong and irresponsible for someone given the title Destination Expert.” Or “we have a clear cancelation policy which the guest agreed to when booking. Volcano is still safe to visit. Please remove this forum post.” Or, “This thread is all about DE’s bullying a poster.”  You get the idea.

3. Send the screenshot and note to   help@tripadvisorsupport.com

I know this will help get rid of bad comments and put a stop to mean behavior.  But, it takes all of us to make a difference!  Stand up for what is right.

Fighting together we will make a positive difference.

Ed

~~~

I told everyone to share with their friends and business connections.  

 

A Message On My Blog Today

”I saw you’re Back on TripAdvisor. Way to go. I always felt you were mistreated by several of the regulars. Keep up the good work” - xxxxx

Thank you for sending me the message.  I withheld your name. But, your message means a lot. 

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE ON MY DAY AT TRIPADVISOR.

Latest Update! Yes! My account is back.

I did get my old account back and I’m excited to be able to get back online. 

Thanks Trip Advisor! 

Lets see how welcoming the forum will be. I hope better than before.  

My perspective: 

- I will follow the rules extremly close

- Provide top quality, well thought out reviews

- Make a positive difference

- Be kind and welcoming

 

NEW WEBSITE DESIGN TO BE DEVELOPED SOON!

 

New Updated Information!

I May actually get my old original account back.

Total surprise from TA. 

When I learned that I might actually get my account back I became pleased with the weeks activities.

lets see!

 

I WAS CONFUSED AND THOUGHT I HAD TO START A NEW ACCOUNT.  Nope, my bad.  I actually got my original account back.  Surprise.  

I did what I was told by corporate and after only 30 minutes I wasn’t able to post on the forum. I immediately learned that TA decided to bring my original account back. Awesome TA!
Strange that TA corporate says one thing while I get different service on the forum! But, I learned that certain DE’s tried to shut my voice right away.

My Day At the TripAdvisor Campus Proved Rewarding!

After being reported for sharing my beliefs on travel, I became frustrated and asked that my account be closed and all my reviews erased.  In hindsigh, my emotional reaction to being bullied online was a mistake.  

Once an account is closed it becomes almost impossible to turn on again.  Some say it is TA lack of customer service or focus.  Executives at TA even treat the forums as foreign and a stepchild of the company.  Another executive said bringing all the reviews back would throw off the rating system. 

After December 14, 2015 I also requested that my forum posts all be delegated.  The TA representative at the time said that wasn’t possible.  

It took almost 2 1/2 years to finally talk with the CEO on the TripAdvisor campus.  My main takeaway was a good encounter with a creative genius. 

Why would anyone who felt mistreated or bullied on any website or online forum spend two years working to get to talk to a CEO about the situation?  Multiple reasons:

1. Online bullies on TA can damage local business 

2. People on a Hawaiian forum pushing for 1 island in a week hurt tourists and  local businesses.

3. Online bullies are not acceptable and it is becoming a big problem.

4. One day, online forums will need to be responsible for damaging information like the newly inacted ‘trafficking‘ legislation impacting businesses like Craigslist.com.

5. A large company like TripAdvisor can use free labor to make billions by boosting SEO without treating their labor like employees or holding them accountable.

6. The fact that others imitated me online (according to friend’s accounts) and made it look bad. 

When I was in Kona before flying to Boston I pondered what I wanted to achieve from face to face time with TripAdvisor.  My main goal was and is that the company allow a free flow of information, acknowledge different traveler types, and offer a more welcoming community. 

 How much will I post now that I’ve meet with so many TA corporate executives? I’m not sure. At least I feel at peace going back to TA, standing up for what is Right, and having a direct line to TripAdvisor. 

Small world.
I get on AA flight to Chicago and the flight attendant says, “I know you!”
Yep!
I’ve known her since I was a young boy spending summers in Rhode Island.
Small world!

Leaving Boston the morning after my TripAdvisor meeting I enjoy breakfast at the Admirals Club. This club brings back many good memories from years ago. I have a special place in my heart for the Boston area.
This trip to Boston and TripAdvisor will be a minor stamp in my life’s travels, but it was rewarding, educational, and enlightening.
The trip has definitely got my creative entrepreneurial juices flowing.

Afternoon pizza and beer socializing with some of the TripAdvisor staff. By this point I stopped talking about TA Forums and focused more on long term goals and partnership ideas.
It was an enjoyable day with good exchanges and open communication.

There is a mini amphitheater on the outside lawn. I could easily picture TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer or another senior leadership executive staff member holding an informative session outside.

I should have asked for a photo op. But, I’m willing to listen and try out the forum again only because of my time with CEO Stephen Kaufer. Seriously, this time has softened my anger toward TripAdvisor. But, if I go on TA Forum again that will be the tell tale sign.
Well, at least I have a voice at corporate.

Great artwork at TA. It is clear that they want to create a positive work environment for fostering creativity.
Thank you TA for listening to me. I appreciate your listening. I’m rather disappointed in how TA tries to balance multiple customers while trying to squeeze money out of all of them. In a few cases the money paid by hotel owners for business listings conflicts with the money paid to OTA (Online Travel Agencies) like Expedia etc. the new BEST VALUE listing is definitely controversial as the algorithm for determining that list is questionable.

Thank you TA for taking time to invite me to your corporate offices and to get to meet so many wonderful people.
How do I feel about TA? Well, I constantly get told to use a different ID with a different name and to ‘come back’ and support TA.
I’m told over and over that TA Forum isn’t a profit center.
What TA didn’t realize was that when an account is disabbled or closed as I did, it can mean big lost revenue from that individual.
TA knows about bullying on the Forums, but really doesn’t give a hoot to make an improvement. Basically the forums help with SEO and ranking, but is a zero profit center.
One employee shared with me that the company doesn’t care about the forum because it isn’t a revenue center. He also said, “The forums are like the Pizza oven in the lunch room. Pizza is part of TA since inception and so are the forums.” He joked that some employees were happy to move to new corporate offices because they escaped “the strong Oder of the pizza parlor below. Someday,we will get rid of forums as it is as bad as the pizza smell.”
Should I even consider going on the forum again? Hum.
What would you do?

An awesome CEO who has created a good business model. What do you think of the TA forums? He is much more interested in talking about revenue streams. Face it,Wall Street has put pressure on TA for additional revenue streams.
In my observation he really does care about those of us who own small hotels, BnBs, and various other businesses. But, when all is said and done, it comes down to profit.
A business listing generates good money for TA and it is a revenue stream they want to keep! My problem is that it has become over the top expensive for many businesses.
Ranking of properties through the new BEST VAL algorithm is a much bigger issue than most anything else facing hoteliers.

Even TA likes to show off awards. These awards are shared near the main entrance to the Trip Advisor building.

The Trip Advisor offices are a welcoming place. I realize that no one in corporate really cares at all about the Trip Advisor Forum. Basically, the team is focused on making TA a revenue source from multiple business aspects.
My observation is that TA would give up the forum. There even seems to be a certain dislike by some of the business staff as the forum isn’t a profit center. Basically, the forums use free labor to generate Google rankings for the company. Very smart move.
What matters to TA? The company is focused on saving the online review part of the business as it helps generate revenue. Of course!

Trip Advisor started above a pizza 🍕 business and pizza is still important in the cafeteria. Holding on to historyis a good thing.

I’m very impressed with the TA executive leadership team. They are trying to take input and improve.
I’m disappointed that they really don’t care about the TA Forum and don’t realize the disruption it causes to their business and customers (businesses that pay for listings etc.).
I would never ever go back on TA before today. It is hard to believe, but since December 14, 2016 I’ve not even looked at the TA site or forum.
Thanks for friends who give me updates. I still find it crazy that people not employed by a company have so much angry power and think so highly of themselves.


Waiting to meet with Brian Payea, Global Head of Operations. Brian is an energetic person who cares a lot about TA and all it’s companies. I like Brian, I only wish they would take responsibility for their online forums. I’m looking forward to having good meetings.

Mixed emotions on my visit today at Trip Advisor. I’m finding it is more of a hate - hate situation for many people.

My friends are the best!

I’m humbled by my friends.

Thanks Liz and Brian for making TA meetings possible.

Tuesday morning, feels more like a Monday because of Memorial Day, and I’m off to Boston for a Trip Advisor Meeting.
I’m not a Trip Advisor fan for many reasons. If you are reading this post you already know this about me.
But, I’m going with an open mind. Well, as open a mind as I can have at this point.

Next week I’m flying from Hawaii to Boston in order to meet with representatives and management from Trip Advisor.
Let’s share Aloha!

Meeting Scheduled With Trip Advisor!

My meeting is now set with corporate at Trip Advisor.  I have purchased my airline tickets today.  While I'm aprehensive about this meeting, I think it will be a good opportunity to talk to some of the people and listen to what they have to say about numerous topics.   

For the record, I don’t see myself supporting TA on forums, in reviews, or in business at this time. 

My mind is open!