What I REALLY wanted to say!

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Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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 I knew it would show up sooner or later...the bad review. It appeared just a couple of days ago. I am thankful for two things: 1. that the woman's complaints are so over the top that no one with half a brain is going to consider them as truthful; and 2. that we've received several very good reviews since then, so as to 'bury' the bad one...but it's still there.

I've submitted a mgmt response, but it hasn't been approved and posted yet. This guest was ticked off because I would not pay for her rayon dress that she ruined by ironing it (heat way too high!). So, I guess this was her only way to get back at me. She just made this stuff up! 

The response, of course, is socially correct and is very polite. But what I really wanted to say was (her complaints in bold)...

Unfortunately, when we entered our room we were hit with an awful odor that is best described as being at a nursing home. You know that smell at your grandparents house (and not the one of fresh baked cookies)!   Lady, I've got one of the most sensitive sniffers around. Your room smelled like clean sheets! I spent two days trying to figure out what 'smell' you were referring to. I'd like to see some of the nursing homes you've allegedly been to.

Also the B&B advertized that a refrigerator in the room and the main area of the house would be available and stocked. The refrigerator in our room was empty and it wnas dirty. The refrigerator in the main area was not well stocked and in fact we had to ask for water bottles twice. There were two bottles of water in your room fridge and the fridge in the foyer has bottled water, 3 kinds of soda, beer and white wine. What else did you want? You didn't ask for water, you asked for ice...three times!! and it was happily provided!! Even when you left. The fridge in your room might have had a little ice build-up on the freezer compartment, but it wasn't dirty!

Breakfast was ok, table setting was no different from what I offer at home. Really? You have a candle-lit 3-course breakfast at home every day? How special for you! You also have cloth napkins with your logo on them?

The furnishing are old and not very clean. My sofa is less than two years old and the chairs in the foyer were re-upholstered in 2008. I really don't consider that old. All of the guestroom bedding and other 'soft' things are less than 4 years old. We do have a few older items, but they are clean and in good repair. 

The air-conditioner made an awful noise all night and would just turn off, at one point I could not get it back on. It's called a 'thermostat', lady! There are two very simple dials on the thing and a 4 y/o could figure them out. It's a window unit, so yes, they do make a little noise, but there's nothing wrong with the unit. You turn it on and the fan makes noise.

Oh, and last, but certainly not least...There is a nice-sized porch but it was dirty and not invitingThis was the one thing that REALLY irritated me! Because our front porch is our guests' first impression, I take great efforts to make sure that it IS inviting..and clean! It's outside, though, so there might be a leaf or two on it at times, or maybe it was the porch baskets that she didn't like. I just bought new cushions for the chairs, swing and loveseats. Don't tell me it's not 'inviting'!!

Ok, I'm done. Sorry for the long rant! I feel better now.

 

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Highlands John's picture
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I'm sorry you've had to go through this, we had a review that Eric alluded to in another thread. A group who were asked to keep the noise down after 23:45 left us a similar spiteful and retaliatory review.

Take heart, once it's buried past page 2 most people wont even see it, and those that do will see it for what it is among all your other great reviews.

I disagree with the general feeling that your management response needs to be consiliatory, I'm afraid that just gives the impression that the points raised valid, too many management responses say “we are sorry it was wrong and we'll look into it”, it's becoming a cliché.

I say go for the jugular, dispute the inconsistencies and down right lies, and I would definitely have included the fact about the dress in the response so people can see this is a retaliation and nothing more.

Several people staying have made reference to our review and they could see it for what it was.

I know it feels like a PR disaster right now, but do you know what effect this terrible review had on our business: NONE.

 

 

 

 

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Highlands John's picture
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Highlands John wrote:

I know it feels like a PR disaster right now, but do you know what effect this terrible review had on our business: NONE.

Also: There is someone near here who gets terrible ta reviews on the regular basis to which he leaves sarcastic replies insulting the reviewer and he still has a thriving business. Sometimes I think we over-estimate the power of ta.

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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Highlands John wrote:

Also: There is someone near here who gets terrible ta reviews on the regular basis to which he leaves sarcastic replies insulting the reviewer and he still has a thriving business. Sometimes I think we over-estimate the power of ta.

We might overestimate the power of TA reviews. However, I think some people (such as your colleague) the underestimate the power of a bad reply. Just makes the inn look worse. 

Highlands John's picture
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Aussie Innkeeper wrote:

Highlands John wrote:

Also: There is someone near here who gets terrible ta reviews on the regular basis to which he leaves sarcastic replies insulting the reviewer and he still has a thriving business. Sometimes I think we over-estimate the power of ta.

We might overestimate the power of TA reviews. However, I think some people (such as your colleague) the underestimate the power of a bad reply. Just makes the inn look worse. 

If only 10% of the people booking your establishment bother to read ta before booking and during the summer you are turning away 10%+ of enquiries becuase you're full you can say what you want on ta management response.

Joey Camb's picture
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I think personally the reply is as important if not more important - the reply of one local restaurant made me determined to eat there!

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Anon Inn's picture
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Share plz, gotta read this!

Joey Camb's picture
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http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g187046-d2153582-r126957309-Devil_Angel-Harrogate_North_Yorkshire_England.html#REVIEWS

its the ones that says Average at best

Highlands John's picture
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 Agree. I would eat there having seen that. 

Something which does strike me particularly about that reply is they have signed their name on it. That definitely gives the reply more gravitas. It's not something I do, but now feel I should. 

Madeleine's picture
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The only problem we had with our bad reviews is they dropped us way down the list on TA. IMMEDIATELY. Like the next day we fell 4 slots. With other places moving up it has been a struggle to get back where we were because we don't have a lot of reviews. (OK, over 100, but that's not 'a lot' for the 10 years the reviews cover.)

And we need to be back up above the TA ads. Below the ads no one even bothers to look unless the top places are full.

But, yes, the reviews have helped because of what was written. They let guests know things they didn't have to go to the website to find out.

The only place I have been a screaming Potty Mouth (auto filter) is on Yelp. But that's the kind of site that expects that.

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Arks's picture
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You're back up to a a strong #3 when I TA you and who knows, the next PITA bad review may hit the guys at #1 or #2. It could happen to anybody at any time.

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Madeleine's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

You're back up to a a strong #3 when I TA you and who knows, the next PITA bad review may hit the guys at #1 or #2. It could happen to anybody at any time.

You know, getting an F when you're a straight A student doesn't impact as much as getting that same F as a solid B student.

Yes, we moved back up over the course of a few months. But, we got knocked back again when a few places had a flurry of excellent reviews and we had zip. So, current reviews are very important to stay higher on the list.

I should probably just keep an eye on it to head off any major unanswered disasters and then just let it go. NONE of the guests who said they used TA have ever written a review.

Arks's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

NONE of the guests who said they used TA have ever written a review.

Your mission is clear. Disguise yourself as DH's boyfriend (you mentioned on another thread that folks assume he has one since he runs a B&B), visit #1 and #2 and find out what they're doing to get guests to write a review!

Generic's picture
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That wouldn't work around here. We ask selectively. You would need to stay here and of course we would need to feel like we should ask you. Asking everyone doesn't work.

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Joey Camb's picture
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what places round me do is - guest surveys - then anyone who puts it was amazing gets a phone call to ask for a trip adv review its that simple.

Highlands John's picture
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What a terrible thing to do.

Joey Camb's picture
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If I was more organised I'd do it!

Highlands John's picture
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Works for us.

Highlands John's picture
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But does that really make a difference??

When I had a business listing on ta the number of people clicking on the link from ta to our website was tiny, which lead me to beleive that a lot of people find places to stay and then check them on ta, rather than look for places on ta to start with.

That was 2 years ago, maybe the balance has changed since then.

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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 Yes, I too have found that most complaints from smaller establishments like ours tend to stem from the guest's failure to READ the policies and then ACCEPT the fact that they do apply to them, too.

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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 T A published my response to the review.

Generic's picture
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I read your reply. I would have used it as a free way to advertise without having to pay T/A and pointed out many of the things that you did mention like what is in the refrigerator in the room, in the common refrigerator, when you changed furniture, etc. So that anyone who reads the bad review also gets your positives. Or turn her negatives into other people's positives. Talk yourself up without regard to what she did.

Joey Camb's picture
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This is what I always say! any review on any site where you have a right to reply is an advertising opportunity - it doesn't matter if it is a good or bad review. ie we went to X bb - not a lot to do - Did you not see XYZ?

and so on.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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That was a very humble reply and I know how tough that would have been to write. I think that was very appropriate because you have such wonderful reviews.

I, on the other hand was a bit snarky with my response. I just couldn't help it. It's so obvious when looking at the graph of the ratings that we have 115 fabulous reviews and now 6 'terrible'. There's no middle ground. The terribles were (except 1) because they didn't read our website and didn't know what & who we are before they got here, and I wouldn't give them their money back. I refuse to be blackmailed.

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That's a pretty decent reply. Good job!

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Aussie Innkeeper wrote:

 T A published my response to the review.

Very gracious! Well done.

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gillumhouse's picture
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Reminds me of the F B posting I got last month. She kept upping the ante until I said no and then posted how rude and unhelpful I was. As we hashed here, if she had done a T A I would not have cared as I have good reviews but F B goes to everyone and his brother and ANY response from me would have made me look defensive. There is absolutely no way for us to tell what WE were dealing with. Sorry you had to deal with it. Flip her the bird mentally and stay your happy self.

Generic's picture
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I read the review. The on thing that stood out for me was this statement... "And don't expect much in the way of water pressure." Does she know or does she not? That's a VERY odd statement. The other statement is that she says the smell was somehow hermitcally sealed in the room but then other places said the smells abound. It's just NOT consistant. Also, because she doesn't have a location, it could easily be a fake review. It is certainly way over the top... if I saw it with all the others I would just assume it was FAKE.

I'm sorry about that review. It usually does spur a lot of new great reviews.

But if you have the correspondence with her, I would certainly send that to T/A and tell them about the problem and why she wrote the review. You can't fake a review simply because you are blackmailing the owner. It's a violation of the ToS.

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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 Yes, that's the best way to handle these attacks on our policies. Use it as an opportunity to point out how really reasonable we are and try to get across (in not so many words) that the complaining guest is being a complete arse.

I figured ONE of us in the equation had to show some decent common sense. I was not going to stoop to her level (well, at least for joe general public to read, anyway).

Joey Camb's picture
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I had this - cheapo couple booked cheapest room during very busy period - event they were attending was cancelled due to the weather and I saw no reason why they should cheap out on me

this became a "housekeeping issue" therefore in my response I casually mention how sorry I am that they could not attend said event and had to stay in HGT despite this due to our cancellation policy and that we would like to take this opportunity to remind future guests that for events that may be affected by the weather it is advisable to buy travel insurance - the idea is that future guests read between the lines.

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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The worst part is that I cannot even try to explain my side of it b/c it then looks like I'm making excuses. I really wish I could have put something in the response addressing her ruined dress, but could not without looking defensive. I suppose the good news is that we do get the last word. Of course, if anyone wants to message her on T/A and harass her, then I suppose I can't stop you. 

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 Sorry this happened. Keep your chin up!

Breakfast Diva's picture
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I feel your pain Aussie! It just happened to me too. I just don't understand how anyone can just make up lies! Not only do they want to hurt our business, but they want to hurt us personally. It's just not right.

I had been waiting for 2 months for this review to happen...just when we thought maybe they wouldn't do one, WHAM!

I'm so sorry you're going through this.

Madeleine's picture
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Hey, how did you get a slide show on your TA page?

Breakfast Diva's picture
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I don't know, it just started to do it!

seashanty's picture
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sorry

i hope that your real response was gracious and brief.

i am wondering about management responses.  if you respond, will that bring the negative review back up to the top or will it just be a response under it and keep that review in its current place in the line (buried)?

 

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Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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seashanty wrote:

i am wondering about management responses.  if you respond, will that bring the negative review back up to the top or will it just be a response under it and keep that review in its current place in the line (buried)?

Yes, I kept it brief. Did not go into the specifics. Had the help of some other folks to write it. I've seen too many negative, defensive responses that make the situation worse and reflect poorly on the respondent. 

As far as I know, the response is posted right after the review and does not bring it up to the top of the list. Thank goodness! 

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Sorry Aussie, glad you were able to get it off your chest here - and I think you were too kind (lol) of course this is for general audiences.  

Hope your real response shows up soon, I know it helped me get past the poop once my response was there for all to see. 

Now you can go be yourself with your new guests and new wonderful reviews will be in your future!

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Sorry you're going through this. As you said, she made things up. I'm glad you didn't pay for the dress SHE ruined.

You've given your response. Now put it behind you ASAP and move on to the GOOD guests!

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