Will Michelin's partnership with TripAdvisor tarnish its reputation?

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Will Michelin's partnership with TripAdvisor affect its reputation?

After the news that Michelin has sold its Bookatable reservation arm to TripAdvisor and struck a content agreement with the online reservation site, we asked: given how unpopular TripAdvisor is among chefs and restaurateurs, and doubts as to the relevance of the 120 year-old guide in a rapidly-changing restaurant industry, does Michelin's reputation stand to suffer from the new partnership?

Is the guide out of touch with the modern diner's expectations? Is the day of Michelin's demise around the corner? 

Questions were raised as to why Michelin, a 120-year old guide once renowned as the only gastronomic reference worth paying attention to, would turn to TripAdvisor to draw attention to its accolades. 

What happened to Michelin?


Out of line with chefs predictions for this year, and often criticised for having a limited scope, favouring classical white cloth restaurants over pioneering concepts, the move was seen by some as the final nail in the coffin. 

It's debateable either company's public image will benefit from the deal - and, as rightly pointed out, stands in other guides' favour. 

Harden's Guides even chimed in to the debacle, Tweeting: "TripAdvisor to publish all Michelin ratings, confirming no-one cares about TripAdvisors'. So no need to wade through TripAdvisor drivel any more - just cut to Michelin's rating. Works somewhat, but only if you want somewhere posh and French… Who tarnishes whom with this tie up?"

Historically, several chefs have rejected the guide's accolades - and France's celebrity chef and owner of La Maison des Bois, Marc Veyrat, is even suing the guide, claiming its decision to strip his restaurant of its third star was illegitimate.

TripAdvisor, shmitadvisor?

Meanwhile, TripAdvisor regularly comes under fire for its unwillingness to crack down on fake reviews - chef Damian Wawrzyniak is even running a campaign to force the platform to demand receipts be provided to verify them. 

Upon hearing the news, he Tweeted: 


Let's be real

However, it's all too easy to forget that the guide is first and foremost a money-making operation whose primary goal is to sell more tyres around the globe: to fund its expansion, it accepts money from tourism boards to publish guides to specific areas, and as of yet has no presence in countries like South Africa, Australia or New Zealand. 

The deal will undoubtedly chip away at their already fraught reputations - especially within the hospitality community - but it is unlikely to strike the last blow to either Michelin or TripAdvisor: thanks to its new and expanded database, TheFork will be the UK's largest online booking platform, while TripAdvisor is the most popular online review platform in the world, and Michelin is still lauded as a great marketing tool for restaurants.

Together, according to a recent study conducted by PwC network member Strategy&., the pair "influenced" almost $8 billion (> £6.15bn) in revenue last year across France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.S., and the U.K. - translating into some 320 million additional meals being eaten in restaurants.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 3rd December 2019

Will Michelin's partnership with TripAdvisor tarnish its reputation?