Hotels Are Now Paying Cash For Positive TripAdvisor Reviews
A recent guest spotted and photographed the above sign, which was mounted at the check-in desk of the Grand Dallas Hotel. In plain letters, the sign offers to compensate guests (in cash, instantly!) for writing positive reviews of the hotel on sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline and Travelocity.
The hotel, which, incidentally, only scores three stars on TripAdvisor (based on nine reviews), reacted promptly to an article posted on The Consumerist, who was tipped off about the sign by a reader who was actually staying at the hotel. Within hours, management had taken down the sign, explaining:
"This sign was posted by one of our front desk staff members while I was out of town for a few days. The team member was trying to go above and and beyond based on a staff meeting we had a couple of weeks ago where I asked the team to try and come up with some creative ways to encourage and get more user reviews for the hotel. "
Eye-catching? Yes. Creative? Not so much.
The hotel went one step further and has asked that all recently-posted reviews be taken down from all of the websites listed on the sign. Which, luckily, won't be too much of a financial blow for them, since, really, all we're talking about here is $3-$5. A pittance.
Meanwhile, we're not at all surprised that stuff like this goes on. After hearing similar stories about hotels sleazily re-directing guests toward TripAdvisor in follow up emails, or, in some cases, actually telling employees to write fake reviews, it's clear that hotels are willing to do whatever is necessary to cut corners in earning praise. And whether we're being tempted with five dollar bills, or the promise of a free upgrade on our next stay, the ulterior motives have a way of souring the whole experience for us.
What about you?
[Photo: Grand Hotel Dallas; inset, The Consumerist]