Last updated on June 6, 2022
Reviews are an important and valuable feature for travelers making decisions.
We recognize 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 travelers 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 vacation rental accommodation and activities reviews as set out below.
When travelers 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 if the review should be rejected or published. In some cases, the author also has an opportunity to re-submit their review for re-moderation.
We send an email to our travelers 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 attaching to that 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 travelers regardless of whether they wish to submit a negative or positive review. Our travelers are able to submit reviews scoring every aspect of a property, or score and comment on select aspects or features of a property or stay. In each case travelers 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 traveler makes more than one review submission for a stay at a property, only the most recent submission is eligible for use. Overall, our 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 travelers may not review themselves. If requested, the traveler 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, vacation rental property access information receipts from our system, demonstrating payment in accordance with a vacation rental agreement that was canceled before the date of the traveler’s arrival, or payment made in accordance with the rental agreement whereby the traveler 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 to not 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 travelers;
- 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 owing to negative content. We do not remove reviews where a traveler attempted to stay but was not offered a room, or where a traveler 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 is proven to be fake or was provided fraudulently;
- The reviewers’ photo(s) include 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, as to timing, or lack of proof of a stay), or as part of a specific lawful request by a traveler 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 travelers.
Travelers 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 currently expanding further 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 travelers.
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. On a case-by-case basis, we may also consider requests by properties for reviews to be removed where appropriate owing to a property ownership change or 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 vacation rental reviews originating through our Vrbo service, our moderation has some specific features:
1. to ensure fairness in the process and protect travelers and vacation rental owners, we enable a 2-way reviews system within 1 year of the stay dates, in which:
- once either the booked traveler or owner submit a review, the other has 14 days to submit a review;
- reviews (to the extent 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 traveler 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 traveler 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. Travelers and owners can contact each other regarding a review via Vrbo’s messaging service.
We receive review submissions in relation to car rentals as for accommodation, following an email to the traveler having booked that 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 is submitted and moderated, we generally gather and display on our websites only headline review scores of 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 as for accommodation, following an email to the traveler having booked that activity. As for accommodation reviews, once a review of an activity is 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 recognized forum TripAdvisor Viator. These reviews offer significant relevance for our travelers 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.