Travel retailer My Holiday Centre is offering customers the chance to win one of three holidays if they mention its brands in the headline or first sentence of a TripAdvisor review. And the simple competition strategy has worked.

There are now lots of reviews on TripAdvisor that plug My Holiday Centre brands (eg: “My holiday was Booked by My QLD Holiday with all the extras, reef trip, white haven beach, all included, it was great”).

But the issue is they throw further doubt on already contentious review screening process of TripAdvisor – a methodology the company, which now owns the world’s most popular travel site, will not reveal.

So, the promotion…

My Holiday Centre urges its customers to “share your experience (good, bad or indifferent) by posting a review on the hotels and/or tour companies page on TripAdvisor with a reference to My Bali, My Fiji, My Hawaii, My USA, My Malaysia, My Thailand, My QLD Holiday or My Holiday Centre in the title or first sentence of your review.

“Things to consider: the service we gave as your travel provider, how were your transfers, did the hotel and airline live up to your expectations, did you feel the overall package was great value?

“By simply sharing your experience on TripAdvisor and sending us a screen shot of your post, you will go into the draw to win a holiday for two.”

The promotion has generated lots of branded TripAdvisor reviews and you can see below for examples sent in by a TravelTrends correspondent.

But does it contravene TripAdvisor guidelines?

Hard to say as the TripAdvisor terms and conditions are obtuse and arcane.

However, they do advise users that: “By using any Interactive Areas, you expressly agree not to post, upload to, transmit, distribute, store, create or otherwise publish through the Site any of the following:

  • “Unsolicited promotions, mass mailings or “spamming”, transmission of “junk mail”, “chain letters,” political campaigning, advertising, contests, raffles, or solicitations
  • “Content containing commercial activities and/or sales without our prior written consent such as contests, sweepstakes, barter, advertising, and pyramid schemes”

The onus here would appear to be on the user – people posting reviews – to do the right thing rather than the promoter.

You be the judge.

Here are some example of the review generated by the promotion:

Reef View Hotel (my Qld holiday promotion) – http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g255085-d257108-r165517468-Reef_View_Hotel-Hamilton_Island_Whitsunday_Islands_Queensland.html

Sofitel – Fiji (my Fiji promotion)- http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowUserReviews-g612490-d589657-r165975034-Sofitel_Fiji_Resort_Spa-Denarau_Island_Viti_Levu.html

Outrigger on the lagoon – Fiji (my Fiji promotion) http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowUserReviews-g294336-d307144-r164242515-Outrigger_on_the_Lagoon_Fiji-Sigatoka_Coral_Coast_Viti_Levu.html

Hyatt Waikiki (my Hawaii promotion)- http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowUserReviews-g60982-d242435-r164663365-Hyatt_Regency_Waikiki_Resort_Spa-Honolulu_Oahu_Hawaii.html

Ayana Bali (my Bali promotion) – http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowUserReviews-g297696-d302249-r165414872-AYANA_Resort_and_Spa-Jimbaran_Nusa_Dua_Peninsula_Bali.html

Avista Phuket: (my Thailand promotion) – http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowUserReviews-g1210687-d1526109-r165506644-Avista_Phuket_Resort_Spa-Kata_Beach_Phuket.html

Andaman Malaysia – (my Malaysia Promotion) – http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowUserReviews-g298283-d302018-r165743249-The_Andaman_A_Luxury_Collection_Resort-Langkawi_Langkawi_District_Kedah.html

What do you think?

PS: My Holiday Centre is a significant business. It is part of the Ignite Travel Group, which call its self “Australia’s leading travel innovator” and also owns Group Buying Escapes and RewardsCorp.

Ignite Travel Group, founded by Randall Deer, was named fastest growing travel company for 2011 and 2012 by BRW Magazine, while Mr Deer was the the 2012 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year. It was the second consecutive year he had won that award.

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