Yelp vs. TripAdvisor: Which reviews should you trust?

It’s hard to trust a site that hides valuable customer feedback from view. That’s why this blog post examines Yelp vs. TripAdvisor, because you should know which reviews of Discover Hawaii Tours you should trust.
Yelp: Some reviews open to the public
If you want to read filtered reviews on Yelp, you have to find the link at the bottom of the page, then type in a CAPTCHA to gain access to the filtered comments. The problem is that Yelp’s filtering system removes legitimate reviews from real people without reason. And it’s impossible to ask Yelp to unfilter a review. Once Yelp filters it, it’s filtered forever.

TripAdvisor: All reviews open to the public.

On TripAdvisor, you have immediate access to all reviews of a business. No review is filtered out by TripAdvisor. Everything is there for you to read on TripAdvisor.Yelp: discourages business-to-customer interactions.
You won’t find our successful interaction with Christina M. on our Yelp review page. Christina initially wrote a negative review on September 3, 2011. We responded  quickly to fix her issue, and she was so happy she wrote a new, positive review two weeks later. Here’s what Christina said after we helped her:

“I finally got to go on the Big Island tour with Discover Hawaii Tours. A quality assurance manager called me directly to sort out the situation and even offered me a discount on the tour, which I thought was thoughtful and professional….

…In a nutshell I am glad I gave the company another chance because you can tell that it values customers and wants to ensure they are satisfied with the tours. I am actually planning on taking a tour to Oahu with Discover Hawaii Tours in a few weeks.”

Guess what? This successful business-to-customer interaction was filtered by Yelp. Go figure.

TripAdvisor: encourages business-to-customer interactions.

If a customer gives us negative feedback on a tour by writing a review on TripAdvisor, we can respond publicly without worrying about our response being filtered. You can view all business-to-customer interactions when browsing reviews on TripAdvisor. There are no hidden, filtered, masked, or camouflaged conversations anywhere on TripAdvisor.

Yelp: unhelpful and unresponsive customer service

We’ve contacted Yelp many times about filtered reviews for our site, especially since our interaction with Christina M. was so successful. Yelp responds with a cookie-cutter response every time:

“Thanks for contacting us with your concerns. We offer some detailed answers [in our FAQ section] that explain our review filter. We also invite you to watch a short video on the subject.

If there are certain customer reviews that you want to showcase, feel free to ask your customers if you can add their testimonials to your own website.”

We’ve also asked the Yelp Honolulu representative about reviews that have been filtered unfairly. Guess what? We got the same response from the local rep: “Watch the video.” (We’ve watched it, it doesn’t help).

TripAdvisor: helpful customer service

When we need to contact TripAdvisor, their customer service agents are usually quick to respond. Although we don’t need to petition TripAdvisor to publish filtered reviews (there are none), we do sometimes need their help. For example, if we’ve responded to a guest but need to update our response, we can contact TripAdvisor to update our response. The change typically happens in less than 24 hours. We like responsive, helpful service. Thank you, TripAdvisor.

Who wins? Yelp or TripAdvisor?

In our book, TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor makes it easy to read all reviews about a business. Nothing is hidden or filtered out. With Yelp, you don’t know what’s hidden unless you dig deeper. TripAdvisor encourages businesses to interact with their customers. Is someone unhappy? Respond to them publicly. Did someone love their tour? Thank them on TripAdvisor. With Yelp, you don’t know when a business-to-customer interaction will be filtered without reason. TripAdvisor cares for both customers and business. They will do their best to solve an issue no matter what it is, tailoring their response to fit your needs. With Yelp, you don’t get a helpful response. Instead, you get a template response according to what kind of issue you’re having.The winner: TripAdvisor.
We hope you agree. Feel free to leave a comment about your experiences with Yelp. Want to learn more? Visit our reviews page or read our blog post about the problem with Yelp’s filtered reviews. As of May 4,2012, Discover Hawaii Tours has 24 reviews on Yelp—but 16 are filtered out. On TripAdvisor, Discover Hawaii Tours has 1,165 reviews, all unfiltered.

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