Unsatisfactory protection for hoteliers from Tripadvisor


Posted on the “Owners Forum” of TripAdvisor

Mar 04, 2011, 2:36

I recently had a serious problem regarding a review to which I wrote to TA outlining the problem. I wanted the review removed or at least a section of it as it what the author claimed wasn’t true, therefore by their own guildlines it was hearsay. The level of service from TA was speedy on the first reply, but it was the only reply, and it was totally unsatisfactory and obviously a generic response. In that corresponding email from TA I was told that ´TA is not the arbitrator of disputes´ so why then is the guest allowed to voice what they claim was said in a dispute but I cant as what was said by the guest is unprintable, but more importantly it was highly offensive and upsetting for the person it was aimed at. This sort of infringement by a guest shouldn’t be permitted or endorsed by any website.This seems hardly fair to me, and also contradicted the very reply I received.When I pointed that out, I never again received a reply from a TA representative, I suppose because I questioned authority.I was told to go down the route of the mangers response but Id prefer not to, as my worry, from previous experience is that if I respond they’ll write another bad review, and that affects my business even more. If the review stays up for much longer Ill have to take my chances and reply.I then tried to send my follow up to their email but I then discovered that you can’t resubmit a query a second time, which is nice customer service on TA part! After speaking with other hoteliers who have expressed similar grumblings with TA policies I feel its now time to speak up, TA needs to evolve to help protect the hoteliers to a degree at least.It seems to me that TA sees itself as infallible and can’t or won’t accept criticism. There’s a sense of ´how dare you criticize us in your mangers response, that simply wont be posted´, be it constructive or not, and they rarely ever offer support to the very people that keep it in business, hoteliers. If you question their guidelines they wont reply, even if the reviews guidelines strongly favors the guest while a hotelier can only reply in a certain manner. Yes TA has improved standards for travelers and has also been a great help for proactive hoteliers like myself as we realize the benefits of TA, but TA fails to remember that without us this site would not exist and sometimes it needs to listen to our needs. I strongly feel that when a guest crosses a line and calls a staff member or in my case my wife, who is also my assistant manager, an unprintable and offensive name, that should therefore relinquish their right to post a review. I believe that there are many cases that this should apply, theft, abusive or aggressive behavior, property damage etc, that type of guest leaves a hotelier with no other choice but to eject them from the hotel grounds, as in our case. Since the influence of TA has grown over the years so has the misuse by some of the people that use it.

 I sometimes feel that I have to tippy toe around my business, and have to offer discounts or comp things for the smallest of problems in the fear of not getting a bad review that would be blown out of proportion if I don’t. IE a guest believed that our hotel was located on the beach because he was sure that he read on TA that we were, but at no point on our own site do we say we are, yet I had to let him check out without penalty and we lost the sale of a room. Last month I had another guest that stayed for 9 nights and then complained on their last night that our hotel wasn’t a 5 star hotel (we have no rating and again that’s clear on our website) and so they were going to destroy us online and they weren’t paying their bill (which is the same as going to a restaurant and eating a 4 course meal and finishing every last scrap and then saying it was terrible and then refusing to pay), in the end we had to call the police. TA needs to understand that they to are open to criticism like anybody else, and they need to understand that the threat of a bad and damaging review on their website is being abused on the ground at the expenses of the hotelier.The conclusion is that my family and I can be insulted verbally and then be hurt on line by TA system by a spiteful guest and I have no means to truly explain my actions, and we have to accept that. Is that ethical? Is that why Tripadvisor was created, to allow badly behaving people do what they like as they know they can get back at us on this site? You have to draw the line somewhere, do you not? Ill give you another example where a guest has abused TA power, and again there’s no protection for hotel owners.I had guests that checked out and didn’t pay for the items they consumed from their mini bar. I then emailed them to ask them if I could put the charge through on their card. They replied that they had missed breakfast one day (as they chose to meet with family in another hotel) so therefore it should cancel out the mini bar, (that clearly is not their decision, plus what was taken outweighed the cost of the missed breakfast) and then added at the end was ‘that wed be happy to write a good review on Tripadvisor’. In other words you charge me and Ill give you a bad review, so we didn’t charge and unsurprising they never wrote a review, they never intended to, likewise with their mini bar I suppose!

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We are a small group of 9 people that are tired of the way TripAdvisor chooses to conduct their business, mainly because of the total lack of consideration towards “owners” in the hospitality world. We are based in the USA, Europe and New Zealand.
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