Trustpilot is an online review service that works with the likes of Nando’s and Boohoo.com, allowing users to deliver feedback on their experiences, which will either persuade or deter prospective customers.The idea is that consumers will be given a transparent experience when making purchases, while businesses can learn from, and improve on, where they are going wrong. There are services across multiple sectors with Yelp, Glassdoor and Zomato covering reviews for local businesses, workplaces and eateries for savvy shoppers. And last year, Trustpilot proved honesty is the best policy as it raised $73.5m in a Series D round. With summer approaching – we hope – we’ve looked at travel review service TripAdvisor to find the disaster stories that companies in the hospitality space have been caught in the midst of. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
(1) Broadway Hotel, Blackpool As if it wasn’t bad enough that the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool was reviewed as a “rotten, stinking hovel” on TripAdvisor by one couple, the venue made things even worse afterwards. Husband and wife Tony and Ian Jenkinson stayed at the location in 2014 and were clearly less than impressed by their accommodation. They paid £36 for the one-night stay, but found they were fined £100 by the hotel for the scathing feedback. “For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review,” the hotel’s policy said. After Trading Standards became involved, the hotel agreed to refund the money. A hotel spokesperson said: “We agree there is room for improvement at our establishment and we desperately want to turn things around.” Though the incident took place in 2014, 2016 reviews aren’t much better, with “absolutely disgusting” and “should be closed down” among them. If your preferred travel experience is rotten, stinking hovel – you know where to go. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
(2) Accor Hotels, Australia It’s one thing to love your brand, but it’s another to take a remarkably unethical, seemingly desperate, approach to marketing. That was the case for Peter Hook, communications manager for Accor Hotels, who worked with the company for almost two decades. Responsible for promoting hotels in the APAC region, Hook used TripAdvisor to post a string of glowing reviews about the business through the company’s Facebook app. Furthermore, he took the opportunity to stick the knife into rivals by bashing services offered in attempt to snatch up customers. An online reputation firm cottoned on to Hook’s dirty tactics, with the PR chief issuing over 100 brilliant reviews for Accor. A month later and Hook had departed the company. He said of his actions: “It was a hobby, nothing more, but in hindsight – and don’t we love hindsight! – I shouldn’t have included hotel reviews.” According to LinkedIn, he now has a number of high-profile travel clients with his firm Hook Communications. Wonder if he’ll clinch Accor…
Continue reading on the next page for the businesses that have reviewed customers and incorporated bribery.
By Zen Terrelonge
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