Did you know that you can’t not join Tripadvisor…if someone reviews you, you are on there and you are on forever. Even if you sell, the new owner has to take on your reviews. As TA don’t arbitrate on ‘factual matters’ it is extremely difficult to get a review removed unless it is either suspicious i.e. posted by a competitor/owner or a mistake i.e. posted to the wrong hotel. We once had a reviewer who said she had brought a group of disabled children for a holiday and we treated them really badly. It was posted to Dale Farm accidentally and TA eventually removed it but we still had 3 weeks when people thought we had mistreated disabled children.
To date we have 93 Tripadvisor reviews. Of these 83 are ‘excellent’, 6 are ‘very good’ and 4 are ‘average’… no ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’… yet. Not bad you might say but even average reviews are incredibly hurtful to owners (and if you haven’t had a bad review yet…you will). I’m not sure why they evoke such strong feelings but I think it is a sense of injustice because you can’t really respond honestly. Like other internet giants TA is virtually impossible to get in touch with so you cannot discuss reviews. You can write a response but owners’ responses are policed by TA much more fiercely that the original review and are often rejected. (TA advises that you should always be polite, apologetic and offer to rectify whatever has gone wrong).
I was discussing this with our daughter who also owns a hospitality business and she dismissed my annoyance. ’Nobody cares about Tripadvisor any more Mum …it’s just for grumpy old people … like Facebook.’ It seems that younger, hipper businesses than ours are wreaking revenge on TA through straightforward mockery. Brewdog the craft beer company has its bad reviews printed on to T shirts and the staff team wears them for service. The owner of the Sticky Walnut group of restaurants in the North West gets round the ‘always be nice in your response’ guidelines. He screenshots the review to social media then posts what he really thinks in his reply; savage and hilarious. A neighbourhood café in York called the Pig and Pastry writes bad reviews on its blackboard then photographs and posts to Instagram. The latest made me laugh – ‘Welcome to our pretentious and annoying café …we still love ya Graham895!’
So I too intend to stop worrying about Tripadvisor but before I do can I just say…(PART B to follow)