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Destination BC and TripAdvisor Partnership is Just Wrong During COVID19

Destination BC and TripAdvisor 

Provincial tourism industry partners up with Corporate America literally leaving tourism businesses and communities paying the bill. 

New partnership sees Destination BC asking British Columbia businesses to update their TripAdvisor profiles and if you do not have one to open one up? Say what!?

destination bc

Destination BC and TripAdvisor

Destination BC and TripAdvisor  –  We are talking the Canadian tourism industry for you newbies just joining us for the first time. And we cherish every second when we are granted the opportunity to work with small and rural tourism businesses and communities. They are the front line of tourism who, at times are treated, like sacrificed pawns in a chess game.

Bad News for BC Tourism Businesses

Recently we learned of a new email memo being distributed  to BC tourism businesses by,  your favorite tourism association, not ours, Destination BC and their Hello BC website. In the memo they reference working with Trip Advisor. Yup, you heard us, TripAdvisor.  The same company that has destroyed businesses, and disrupted economies. Below we have posted a detailed list of 12 points of why this Destination BC and TripAdvisor partnership is just wrong in so many ways. Especially now, at this time, during the recovery process of a tourism industry which has been devastated by COVID19. 

“Staycations” is the Tourism Buzz Word of These Times

Staycations, shop local, & keep it Canadian is what Destination BC and every regional, provincial and national tourism association is preaching right now. And rightly so. They should be, as we should too, here at eh Canada Travel Marketing Group. During this time of crisis it will be up to Canadians to save Canadian communities and the tourism industries that prop them up. If we do not, many tourism businesses in Canada will fail and some small communities will collapse. We are seeing and hearing examples of this already.  

Destination BC is Not Practicing What They Preach

Staycations, shop local, discover your own backyard, buy Canadian, support your hometown and the messaging goes on and on and on. It is really too bad and sad, Destination BC does not follow its own advice? In a recent memo they sent out to many of our clients, they are encouraging BC tourism businesses to set up or update their account on Trip Advisor? What? Then, get this, they are posting Trip Advisor information on the Hello BC website? What 2.0?

The Destination BC and TripAdvisor Partnership is just wrong in so many ways, especially at this time, during the recovery process of a tourism industry which has been devastated by COVID19. 

12 Reasons Why TripAdvisor & Destination BC Partnership is Just Wrong…  

(1) TripAdvisor is based in Needham, Massachusetts, United States – So much for Destination BC supporting local. 

(2) All tourism business bookings processed online through TripAdvisor includes a 3% processing fee. Commission is based on your total rent, including any required and optional fees you specify for your property, for things like cleaning.  As a Canadian industry we should be promoting the actual website of these BC tourism businesses which would enable them to keep the commissions in house. It seems 50+ million dollars or so budget was not enough to build such a system. 

(3) TripAdvisor charges travelers a commission per booking basis, which can be between 12-15% per booking. Travelers pay more on TripAdvisor. This is especially disturbing when on most occasions the booking price on the individual tourism business website is often less than what TripAdvisor is posting.

(4) TripAdvisor has never produced any marketing on other mediums encouraging travel to BC, let alone Canada. Little to no TV, videos, radio, print, social, etc? Money going out and no money invested back in to promoting BC tourism. TripAdvisor does not invest in Canadian Tourism. They take from Canadian tourism.

(5) TripAdvisor invests zero dollars back into our BC communities for economic development, youth sport team sponsorships, and/or development of community assets or local tourism sectors. Money that use to stay in communities has far reaching negative effects on other social aspects of the community. 

(6) The lack of transparency by Trip Advisor hurts travelers because they think all of the businesses are fairly represented on the platform, and because of their size and corporate power they have become too big to ignore, pressuring small businesses to work “with” them in order to protect their business reputation. It is a form of corporate bullying. 

(7) You could not go more corporate than Trip Advisor. So much for supporting small businesses and Canadian made products. TripAdvisor is part of the Expedia monopoly. Expedia Inc. owns Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Venere.com, TripAdvisor.com — plus TripAdvisor subsidiaries CruiseCritic.com, BookingBuddy.com, SmarterTravel.com, SeatGuru.com, AirfareWatchdog.com and IndependentTraveler.com.  This is what your bookings are funding. Your bookings are not funding tourism businesses nor communities. 

(8) Most tourism businesses only make available a hand full of accommodations and/or seats on Trip Advisor.  You do not see the whole picture of what is available. In fact some only put the hardest selling rooms online – and they are the most expensive in many cases because international travelers coming to Canada do not know the difference. Sounds like an ideal partner? Not!

(9)  Travelers use bad reviews for bribing hotels into better rates. Staff who have been fired for misappropriate conduct of some sort attack their former employers online with fake accounts and fake reviews. Consider that in some cases in the past it took some accommodations years to remove the malicious fake reviews from TripAdvisor, no doubt costing them revenues. Since when is a plumber, truck drive, surgeon visiting an accommodation a tourism expert? That is like me going to a plumber to get my tooth removed? Or asking a dentist to rewire my homes electrical? Trip Advisor is not a collection of experts. It is a collection of gossipers. 

(10) Unethical accommodations have been caught bribing travelers by offering discounts for fake positive reviews on Trip Advisor. No surprise here. 

(11) New companies are popping up all over, being paid as content creators for Trip Advisor. There sole purpose is to post poor reviews on competing tourism businesses and positive ones on their client’s Trip Advisor profile. This only hurts the industry. 

(12) Lack of Trip Advisor oversight on fake reviews has forced businesses to close. We know of stories where some have had to change their business name and restart the business building process all over again. Some get stressed out to the point they want out of the industry all together and  sell their business. TripAdvisor has destroyed lives due to fake reviews. In one case in Nova Scotia, that we know of, a very high end accommodation has all its guests sign a disclaimer saying nothing will be posted on TripAdvisor because they do not trust the platform.

TripAdvisor is one of the most sued OTAs online.

Not too long ago the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) launched an investigation into TripAdvisor on behalf of business owners upset at what they described as fake or defamatory reviews.

TripAdvisor is not going to save the BC tourism industry.  British Columbians will save it.  Then the rest of Canada will need to step up too.

Last we heard international tourism and crossing borders was a long way off. Some say 2-3 years before international travel resumes to acceptable levels. This travel consultant is one of them.

Here is the deal. If we are traveling in our regions, as the industry puts it, “staycations”,  why would we want to use Trip Advisor.  TripAdvisor is well documented as a long haul tourism tool? Plus, it is a booking tool. It is not a planning tool. In fact, because of the lack of information about destinations, booking with Trip Advisor creates shorter stays. 

Regional travel, the 200 kilometre travel bubble, will be more about planning than booking. People want to know safety protocols and areas they can enjoy their passions with little to no crowds. Travelers wish to know before they go now.

Our travel website, ehCanadaTravel.com, is a planning and booking website dedicated to all that is adventure in Canada! It is important Canadians support Canadian booking websites with lots of information, photos and videos. Support Canadian websites with no commissions, and who do not nickle-and-dime our small towns and tourism businesses to death. 

Be mindful of your bookings post COVID19
because that is who you are supporting!

Destination BC and TripAdvisor Partnership is Bad News

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Canadian Travel Influencer post by : Greg Girard

eh canada travel - small and rural community consultant

Small Town Canada Community Consultant / Co Founder at eh Canada Travel

Greg Girard is a co founding brother of the award winning adventure and travel website and blog ehCanadaTravel.com. Greg is also a top ranked Canadian travel blogger who enjoys public speaking, and working with as many small and rural Canadian communities as possible. Greg is an avid outdoor enthusiasts and amateur photographer who enjoys backpacking, road trips, wilderness camping, snowboarding and what he calls hacking (what others would call golf).

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