Daily Archives: July 10, 2013

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love TripAdvisor

The myriad imperfections of TripAdvisor do not go unremarked.

It seems that hardly a week can pass without another scandal about fake reviews. The British Advertising Standards Authority smacked TripAdvisor around┬álast year for its advertising claims. Arthur Frommer hates on it quite regularly. And it doesn’t help, in my view, that it continues to publish dubious lists of the world’s best whatevers.

But none of that matters nearly as much as what TripAdvisor has done for travelers, a boon so big and so meaningful that I think it’s fair to call it historic. TripAdvisor has exposed the bad guys of the hospitality business, the frauds and cheats, the kind of people who have been preying on travelers not for decades or centuries but for millennia. I’m talking about┬áthe vicious, greedy restaurateurs and hoteliers who have plagued travelers without regard for their reputations because reputations didn’t matter when there was always a fresh horde of tourists to steal from.

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More Passengers, Less Service

I was reading through a list of press releases on the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics website because, hey, everyone needs a hobby and I found these two titles:

March 2013 U.S. Airline System Passengers Up 1.0% from March 2012, and

March 2013 Passenger Airline Employment Down 2.7 Percent from March 2012

No need to read the reports, really, to get the picture. Even I can do enough math to figure out that it means more passengers and fewer workers, which adds up to worse service.

Unless maybe the airline industry is doing more with less? That’s the mantra I heard over and over in the newspaper industry, but it never seemed to come with specific instructions. We always seemed to end up doing less with less.