Last updated on 6 June, 2022
Reviews are an important and valuable feature for travellers making decisions.
We recognise the importance of trusted reviews. We take reasonable steps, including imposing restrictions on who is given the opportunity to submit reviews and their timeframes for submission, requiring evidence in some cases, and providing travellers and partners with the pathways set out below to dispute a review displayed on our platform, to ensure that only those who have booked a travel service or provided one can post a ‘verified review’ of their experience. We clearly designate in our display any reviews that are not submitted and verified directly via our service, such as some holiday rental accommodation and activity reviews as set out below.
When travellers submit reviews to our service, we apply auto-moderation to identify issues such as profanity, discrimination, disclosure of personal information and indicators of illegality. Our general Terms of Service offer further pathways for any party to raise and resolve any allegation of intellectual property infringement in any content we display. Where reviews are rejected by our moderation processes, the author is informed by email of the rejection, with specific reason(s) where they apply. We also perform further automated and manual checks on a wide range of reviews before finally determining whether the review should be rejected or published. In some cases, the author also has an opportunity to resubmit their review for remoderation.
Reviews of accommodation
We send an email to our travellers giving them the opportunity to leave a review following their stay at a property. From time to time, we may offer incentives to complete reviews, such as by including with the email a savings or rewards points voucher for use on a future trip. As it is important to us that reviews are impartial and honest, these incentives are made available to travellers regardless of whether they wish to submit a negative or positive review. Our travellers are able to submit reviews scoring every aspect of a property, or score and comment on selected aspects or features of a property or stay. In each case, travellers are given the option to rate their experience on a straightforward scale (e.g. 1-5). Completed sections may be progressively auto-submitted. If a traveller makes more than one review submission for a stay at a property, only the most recent submission is eligible for use. Overall or headline review scores for properties are a simple average of all related final scores of individual reviews.
The following eligibility and removal conditions form the required basis for any review to appear on our service. Any condition not respected forms a basis for our rejection or removal of a review.
Reviews must be submitted within 6 months of the stay. Owners may not review a property that they own, manage or are otherwise associated with, and travellers may not review themselves. If requested, the traveller or property must be able to provide satisfactory evidence of the stay in the property (or the inability to proceed with a stay due to the other party’s late action). Satisfactory evidence includes relevant stay receipts, holiday rental property access information receipts from our system, demonstrating payment in accordance with a holiday rental agreement that was cancelled before the date of the traveller’s arrival, or payment made in accordance with the rental agreement whereby the traveller arrived and had to stay at an alternative property due to unforeseen circumstances.
We will publish and display all reviews (both positive and negative), as long as they meet our overall platform content guidelines, such as not to include:
- property rates, rate ranges or other pricing information;
- Comments or questions about other reviews or the content of the website;
- Direct comments or questions to property staff, or property direct booking appeals to travellers;
- False statements or unlawful remarks;
- Profanity or other objectionable content;
- Phone numbers, physical addresses, email addresses or information that can be linked to a specific individual;
- HTML tags or URLs;
- Quoted material from websites, books, magazines, newspapers or other sources;
- Impersonations of someone else or information about another person.
We do not remove reviews simply due to negative content. We do not remove reviews where a traveller attempted to stay but was not offered a room, or where a traveller left earlier than their scheduled departure day. We do remove reviews in appropriate or serious circumstances (as determined by us), which could include, for example, where:
- The review contains the full name of a property staff member;
- The review has been proven to be fake or was provided fraudulently;
- The reviewers’ photo(s) include(s) inappropriate content such as nudity;
- The review contains evidence of violence to a child or child pornography;
- The review contains evidence of serious injury or death of any guest.
We may remove (or not publish) a review where a submission eligibility requirement is found not to be met (for example, with regard to timing, or lack of proof of a stay), or as part of a specific lawful request by a traveller such as a personal data request. We remove reviews overall after 3 years, except in cases where a property has a limited number of reviews, to ensure an appropriate balance of information for travellers.
Travellers are able to report any concerning review they see to our support team, and have the additional ability to ‘flag’ this concern directly on many of our websites, a feature that is currently being further expanded across our service.
We offer properties the ability to respond to reviews via a management response tool to address any issues raised, in order to help them speak directly to potential guests and highlight any remediation or property improvements. These can contribute to the blend of perspectives available about a property and offer further useful information for travellers.
Where a property genuinely considers that, despite moderation, a review falls outside the guidelines outlined above, we also offer the ability to submit a review dispute form for consideration via their partner services. We may also, on a case-by-case basis, consider requests by properties for reviews to be removed where appropriate, due to a property ownership change or the completion of major renovations.
We do not share personally identifiable information about review authors or their transactions with properties, nor do we facilitate direct contact by properties with reviewers. Other than as part of moderation as above, or in direct support in the normal course of a reviewer having asked us a question or raised an issue, we do not actively enter into contact with review authors.
For holiday rental reviews originating through our Vrbo service, our moderation has some specific features:
1. To ensure fairness in the process and to protect travellers and holiday rental owners, we enable a two-way review system within 1 year of the stay dates, in which:
- once either the booked traveller or owner submits a review, the other has 14 days to submit a review;
- reviews (to the extent that they comply with our overall content guidelines) are then published at the same time and cannot be edited;
- if, after 14 days of the booked traveller or owner submitting a review, the other has not, the submitted review is published and no additional reviews can be submitted in relation to this stay.
2. Owing to the nature of Vrbo stays, Vrbo properties typically have lower review volumes per property, and the relevance of those reviews endures for longer. Some verified Vrbo reviews are displayed on our service for longer periods than 3 years, e.g. 4-5 years (including where de-identified in accordance with our data protection policies).
3. Certain Vrbo reviews come from a traveller or owner submitting a review directly to a property management service outside Expedia Group, or to a previous form of the Vrbo service, where a valid reservation exists on that service and the property is partnered with Expedia Group. These reviews are not verified by the processes outlined above in relation to our websites/apps and moderation, but, for publication, they must originate either from a contracted partner with obligations to our service to share with us only verified reviews that meet our overall content guidelines, in many cases carrying a reservation code linked to that partner, or from our own previous form of the Vrbo service, including a valid reservation code. All of these reviews are clearly marked in our reviews display.
4. Travellers and owners can contact each other regarding a review through Vrbo’s messaging service.
Reviews of car rentals
We receive review submissions in relation to car rentals similar to accommodation, following an email to the traveller who booked the rental. Reviews are on a simplified 1-2 satisfaction scale, and may be submitted within 1 year of the rental. Once a review of a car rental has been submitted and moderated, we generally gather and display on our websites only headline review scores by car rental providers, or an indicator as to a % or level of satisfied customers based on rentals with that provider.
Reviews of local attractions and activities
We receive review submissions in relation to activities similar to accommodation, following an email to the traveller who booked the activity. As in the case of accommodation reviews, once a review of an activity has been submitted and moderated, it is displayed on our websites whether it is positive or negative, and overall or headline review scores are a simple average of all related final scores of individual reviews.
In addition to our verified reviews, our service offers some activities gathered in partnership with recognised forum TripAdvisor Viator. These reviews offer significant relevance for our travellers in assessing those activities, are clearly marked as coming from Viator, and must meet our overall content guidelines in order to be published on our websites.