Tag: Online Reviews

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TripAdvisor: Still Not To Be Taken Completely Seriously

June 22, 2015 at 10:55 AM | by | ()

We've long said to take TripAdvisor and other online review sites with a grain of salt.

Our usual MO for reading TripAdvisor reviews (which we definitely still do before booking a hotel, once we can get through all the pop-up ads) is to ignore the angry and inflammatory ones, dismiss the overly flattering ones and instead look for the details such as WiFi charges, parking charges, in-room amenities, the kind of views you'll most likely have and the noises you may (or may not) hear.

But despite initiatives to bump up their review credibility (such as wiping away old reviews after a hotel completes a major renovation), TripAdvisor still runs into some problems with fake reviews, usually with sickeningly positive ones.

Check out this hotel's Facebook status. We double-checked on TripAdvisor and sure enough the review was "real." Here's what the guest had to say about her "Magical" experience at this hotel:

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Another Crappy Hotel Tried to Charge Guests for Negative Online Reviews

November 19, 2014 at 10:50 AM | by | ()

In August, we were completely pissed off that a hotel outside New York City posted a note on their website about how they would charge guests $500 for leaving a bad review of the place on any online review website. After the policy made national news, the owner backed down saying, "it was just a joke." Of course, we don't believe it was a joke but regardless, the terrible policy has inspired another hotel to do the same thing.

The Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, England actually charged two guests 100 pounds for writing a negative review of the hotel online where they called the place a "dirty rotten stinking hovel run by Muppets." (Hey now, no need to involve our beloved Muppets.)

Unbeknownst to the guests, the hotel included their "No bad reviews" policy in the booking documents. Here's what it says:

"Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. "For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review."

Man. This hotel must be raking in money. Go to TripAdvisor and check out all the terrible reviews of the place. It really is a dirty rotten stinking hovel. Following up on this, The Daily Mail pulled some photos from TripAdvisor to further show off the hovel and they are frightening. Doesn't the hotel have health standards it needs to abide by?

However, there will be happy ending. Word is the couple will have their money refunded and the hotel will stop enacting the policy. Now, all it needs is a renovation and for someone to remove those dirty socks from the nightstand drawer.

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This Hotel Will Charge You $500 for Writing a Negative Review

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 345-349 Union Street [map], Hudson , NY, United States, 12534
August 4, 2014 at 10:34 AM | by | ()

UPDATE: The hotel told CNBC the policy was a joke and "It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced." We say, "That's convenient."

UPDATE, 8.6.14: The owner has posted this apology and update on the hotel's Facebook page. While the negative review policy may have been a joke gone wrong, the hotel still has a bunch of other ridiculous policies. Be sure to read those in our story below.

Hotels have been striking back at online guests reviews over the past few years in various ways. The most popular and most sensible way is the constant responding of management to all reviews--good and bad (so long as you aren't a dick about it.) Then, there's the requesting of really bad reviews to be removed from the site, which TripAdvisor has agreed to recently, especially if the property has been renovated since the negative note. Hotels have also gone straight to the guests, bribing them offering them perks during their stay or discounts for future stays if they write a positive review.

But this one hotel in Hudson, New York now has the audacity to charge wedding guests $500 for writing a negative review. Here's the controversial policy in place at the Union Street Guest House:

"There will be a $500 dollar fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH place on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding even if you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review.”

The policy is in effect for wedding guests in the area and wedding parties at the Inn, not regular guests (although this a strange distinction to make.) The hotel will also refund the $500 if the review is taken down.

Um, yeah, well now that this policy is being condemned on the news, we can safely say this has back fired for the hotel.

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Most Provocative OpenThread of 2012: Are Hotels Abusing TripAdvisor?

December 31, 2012 at 9:00 AM | by | ()

It's that time of year again: the 2012 HotelChatter Awards! Today and Monday, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

Last January, after reading a story about an Irish hotel staff being instructed to post fake reviews online, we posed the question: "Have You Ever Been Bullied Into Writing A Positive TripAdvisor Review?".

Unsurprisingly, you all had plenty to say about the issue. What surprised us, however, was how long the debate has endured.

Fast forward to this month, when a similar incident took place, this time in Dallas, TX, where some genius employee had the idea of offering customers cash rewards in exchange for nice reviews on TripAdvisor.

On the one hand, we can kind of sympathize with the hotels, who are really just desperate for positive feedback (that future guests will then hopefully read). But on the other, we're frustrated that the online reviews we once trusted are seeming less and less reliable.

One commenter (a hotelier) called it "regrettable but a necessity" for hotels to solicit positive feedback from guests, while another admitted to asking guests to post reviews online, but noted, "I don't use the word "positive" and I don't give rewards." If only they could all be so upright...

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Hotels Are Now Paying Cash For Positive TripAdvisor Reviews

December 17, 2012 at 9:22 AM | by | ()

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.

Shame, shame.

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.

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