Meet the businesses that were sunk by TripAdvisor reviews

(3) Bennett’s Cafe & Bistro, York

As the saying goes, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Apparently the manager at York-based Bennett’s Cafe & Bistro likes it hot and encouraged searing temperatures by unleashing fury on an unhappy customer.

After visiting with friends in December 2015, TripAdvisor user Hannah C slammed her afternoon tea experience at the bistro as “absolutely awful” and considered the place to be rather expensive.

She summarised the bashing by saying: “Dreadful place. The rude waiter that served me should be sacked”.

Refusing to take that lying down, however, the manager of Bennett’s took the feedback on board and returned some in kind.

Firstly the boss noted the duties of a waiter and then reeled off all of the associated costs of running a business, from supplies, wages, rent and VAT.

The manager said the costs involved for Hannah is just “the cruel reality of life” and added “the rudeness perceived was triggered by the disrespect that I perceived in you by your presumption that you could use our facilities and be waited on for free.”


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(4) The Cove, Cornwall

We previously mentioned how lucrative the reviews market has become. Indeed, the desperation to be seen as a great brand by consumers cost Peter Hook his job.

Meanwhile, using a tactic similar, yet more subtle, to Hook’s, The Cove in Cornwall sought glowing reviews from customers – and offered a bribe as a reward for delivering the goods.

Billed as a scheme called “Friends of the Cove”, those who had stayed with the hotel were approached via email and encouraged to leave a “honest, but positive review” on TripAdvisor.

Complying with the demands would have resulted in ten per cent discount of a future stay, while further ten per cent discounts could be made for each friend convinced to stay.

Additionally, a Cove loyalty card would grant discount on food and drink at the venue, as well as an apartment upgrade.

The Office of Fair Trading was involved and TripAdvisor threatened to penalise the hotel for its actions, which would be investigated.

So what if you left a bad review? A £100 fine, presumably.

While The Cove’s intentions were questioned, the business and many others can learn how to generate loyalty from the most effective reward programmes in the world. 

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