TripAdvisor was founded in 2000 and in its more than 18 years of existence, it has become one of the go-to websites for travelers, diners and anyone looking for information on a destination. The American company's website shows reviews of hotels, restaurants and other travel destinations. The reviews on TripAdvisor allow travelers to weight up their options and make decisions based on the experiences of others.

TripAdvisor is a user-generated content website. Therefore, the reviews come from actual users who have experienced the hotels and restaurants profiled. The idea behind TripAdvisor is a good one because tourists can get recommendations or they can be warned about places not to go. However, some on of the reviews produced by users should be taken with a grain of salt. Some reviews have been found to be untrue while others are based on one person's experiences.

What is TripAdvisor?

TripAdvisor is the world's most frequented travel website. Type a travel destination into Google or any other search engine and there is a good chance a TripAdvisor page will pop up first. The website's content is created by those who have experienced hotels, restaurants, and travel locales. In some cases, users upload photos of food or the accommodation they experienced.

TripAdvisor wasn't intended to be a travel review website. It was originally a B2B website that connected hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in the travel industry. After reviewers began leaving reviews on the website, TripAdvisor's model changed and it transformed itself into the company we know today.

The advantages of TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor can be a very helpful tool for travelers, hotels, restaurants, and the travel industry as a whole. Each group can take the information left on TripAdvisor and use it to their advantage.

Travelers use the information left by other holidaymakers to make educated decisions about their travel destinations. TripAdvisor can give insight into a place a traveler has never been and inform them of good places to eat, drink, and stay the night. It is the same as asking a friend that has visited a destination previously. Only the friend is a website and there is typically more than one review about a specific place. Not only can the information tell a travel were to go, but it can give details on visiting certain tourist sites that may not be profiled in travel guides. TripAdvisor is also updated regularly, so travelers can get up to date reviews of places that may have improved or regressed.

Hotels and restaurants can see reviews to improve their business. A good review can be the difference between tourists visiting a location and not. At the same time, a bad review can cause a company great deal of grief. Reviewers give their honest opinions (in most cases) about a place. Those opinions can make or break a business.

TripAdvisor's reviews can also help a hotel or restaurant improve. A number of bad reviews can point out faults or problems. These issues can be improved upon by the business. In this way, the tourism industry can see just what is wrong or right with a business. In addition, the tourist industry can see what travelers want on their trips and adjust accordingly. In these ways, TripAdvisor is a useful tool.

The disadvantages of TripAdvisor

While TripAdvisor has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages that drive travelers and those in the tourist and restaurant industries crazy. A large number of the millions of reviews featured on TripAdvisor focus on petty issues. A 2011 article on the Guardian website written about TripAdvisor, featured reviews that focused the Ritz in London. The negative one bubble reviews focused more on things like the hotel's dress code, stuffy and traditional atmosphere, and the selection of items during afternoon tea rather than the individuals' actual stay. Although TripAdvisor gives consumers power and a voice, the reviews don't always give accurate and meaningful information.

The other problems with TripAdvisor come in the form of fake reviews. Users or even rival hotels and restaurants can leave negative reviews. In addition, information can be highly inaccurate or misleading.

Despite the negatives and disadvantages of travelers using TripAdvisor for information, it is still a useful tool. TripAdvisor gives insight and information on a destination. It is extensive and even remote and obscure destinations can be found on the TripAdvisor website.