Back in May, The Telegraph in the UK had a piece about “Hotels ‘hostage to TripAdvisor blackmailers” that I covered here.
Now, HotelNewsNow, an industry publication, has an article “How to fight against TripAdvisor blackmail”.
You can access the entire HotelNewsNow piece here:
While TripAdvisor and other travel review websites can be powerful marketing tools for hotels, they can also pose threats. Operators said some disgruntled or unscrupulous guests have threatened to post negative reviews of hotels unless they receive compensation—a room upgrade, a free room or even cash.
“Hotels need to accept that a small unscrupulous segment of travelers may use their social media clout to demand unreasonable concessions,” said Daniel Edward Craig, founder of online reputation management consulting firm Reknown. “Review threats can put staff in an extremely difficult position. They don’t want to cave in to unreasonable demands, but they also don’t want to be blamed for a bad review.”
Hoteliers at times might confuse a threat of a bad review with a basic service issue, said Adele Gutman, VP of sales, marketing and revenue for New York City-based Library Hotel Collection.
“What some hotels say is blackmail 99% of the time is simply a very weary, frustrated traveler,” she said. “We coach our staff to be compassionate and disarm (angry guests) by being kind and trying to put them at ease. Even if you ultimately can’t fix the problem, at least the guest can see there is someone who is truly trying to make things better for them.”
I truly doubt that there are many travelers that would be “threatening” hotels with negative reviews if they don’t provide room upgrades or extra services. Even if there would be, all the hotels would get these nutcase reviews every now and then, and these wouldn’t really change their TripAdvisor rankings over longer period at all.
What I see more often nowadays, are replies from hotels to these TripAdvisor reviews that have nothing to do with the review left by the guest. Some manager is just copy/pasting their same reply to each and every review.
The TripAdvisor problem for bad hotels and less than stellar hoteliers is that consumers can now voice their opinion about the price/quality publicly that wasn’t previously easily possible.