Article on Fake Reviews

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Generic's picture
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http://consumerist.com/2014/02/05/how-not-to-have-the-worst-hotel-stay-ever-look-for-fake-online-reviews/

and a bit more...

http://business-news.thestreet.com/philly/story/can-you-trust-the-hotel-review-sites/1?page=1

I love this quote...

Understand that TripAdvisor and Yelp both spend heavily on analytics designed to smoke out fraud. That info is proprietary, but recognize the big review sites have your back because without credibility of their reviews, they literally have nothing. They both filter out a lot of bogus reviews before they ever post.

I hope your screen isn`t full of coffee at the moment!

 

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OnTheShore's picture
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The advice continually given out on the TripAdvisor "Owners" forum when some owner complains about a bad review they got, is to write a response rather than a rebuttal, and to not look back at the past but to look forward to the future.

 

(edited to add)

BusinessDictionary.com defines a “response” as;

Reaction to an event, occurrence, or situation, aimed at its containment or control.

Their definition of a “rebuttal” is;

An attempt to contradict or disprove an argument, by offering a counter argument.

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Madeleine's picture
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Thanks for posting this. I was reading it last night and was upset that they imply small hotels will fake their reviews if there is a large, chain hotel in the neighborhood against whom they are competing.

And, yes, that quote. Seriously? With the stuff they let stand? Because it's the guest's 'opinion' even if the 'guest' never did more than call at 2 AM and got upset because you were full?

Plus, with us, they are always reviewing US. They comment on US. Not just the business. And because it's just us it's not like they say, 'the front desk clerk was grumpy,' they say, 'the owners shouldn't be in the people business, they have no people skills.'

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Bigbid's picture
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This is kind of a side note.  A few months ago our lodging association had a media expert that specialized in reviews come and talk to us.  He said to NEVER reply to a bad review with your side of the story.  You need to bury the review and responding will only keep it alive.  You need to reply with “We are so sorry to hear of your issue.  Please call us at “your actual number” and we will do everything to satisfy you”.   He said they will never call but it lets other potential guests know you care and are on top of it.

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Arks's picture
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Bigbid wrote:

He said to NEVER reply...You need to bury the review and responding will only keep it alive.  You need to reply with “We are so sorry to hear of your issue...

Yes, I agree with Copperhead, I really don't understand this.

First it says "Don't reply. replying will only keep it alive."

Then the very next sentence is, "You need to reply with..."

As Copperhead said, replying is replying, regardless of what you say. If replying keeps it alive, ANY reply does that.

But they don't allow a back and forth after the reply, so after the reply, the subject is closed. Replying doesn't keep it alive. It just gives the innkeeper a chance to get out of the situation with as much grace as possible, and to turn a negative into a positive for future readers.

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I really don't understand the reasoning.  Replying is replying no matter what you say.  In TA, it is by date of the original review, not the reply.  It is alive!  To bury it you need new reviews, hopefully good reviews to show this review is as it seems - an attempt to cause your business harm. 

The only reason to not explain your side is if the guest's account was accurate.  And even then you should take the time to explain how the issue was or will be resolved. 

Telling anyone who is complaining online to the public that you will do anything to satisfy is also wrong.  It will lead to more.  Or treats to write if you do not comply while they are in your establishment. 

I do feel by asking the reviewer to contact you personally in order to discuss the issue is the way to go, just not stating to the world that the reviewer has won. 

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copperhead wrote:

I really don't understand the reasoning.  Replying is replying no matter what you say.  In TA, it is by date of the original review, not the reply.  It is alive!  To bury it you need new reviews, hopefully good reviews to show this review is as it seems - an attempt to cause your business harm. 

The only reason to not explain your side is if the guest's account was accurate.  And even then you should take the time to explain how the issue was or will be resolved. 

Telling anyone who is complaining online to the public that you will do anything to satisfy is also wrong.  It will lead to more.  Or treats to write if you do not comply while they are in your establishment. 

I do feel by asking the reviewer to contact you personally in order to discuss the issue is the way to go, just not stating to the world that the reviewer has won. 

To be honest, I don't think there is burying it. When I see any hotel/B&B I see the ratings and click on the bad ones, it is what I do. I immediately see they are pathetic or whatever...but if they outweigh the good I read them carefully.

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Madeleine's picture
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copperhead wrote:

I really don't understand the reasoning. 

One thing to keep in mind is to not use the words the guest did. In my case, 'shared bath'. I always try to remember to use 'private bath' so 'shared bath' doesn't 'trend' on my review page.

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Bigbid wrote:

This is kind of a side note.  A few months ago our lodging association had a media expert that specialized in reviews come and talk to us.  He said to NEVER reply to a bad review with your side of the story.  You need to bury the review and responding will only keep it alive.  You need to reply with “We are so sorry to hear of your issue.  Please call us at “your actual number” and we will do everything to satisfy you”.   He said they will never call but it lets other potential guests know you care and are on top of it.

That is totally true. 

Unfortunately the really bad reviews are always lies, and then they lead others to question it, by doing what the expert said, I would be fearful people will believe the lies. if it was something like "Breakfast was not up to par..." or something opinion related, then I agree with the expert. But saying "This B&B is right next to a freeway" or something completely UNTRUE we need to set the story straight.

On the same topic, we ARE able to have the freeway review removed, as it is blatant lies and easy to prove it false. But should we? 

Madeleine's picture
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Oddly, that may be the 'industry expert' take on it but how about the potential guest? I see that statement as corporate boilerplate. I want to see a real response from a real, in charge person.

Why? Because it's the answer that lets me know what the innkeeper is like.

We have a hotel here in town that responds with the same phrase, slightly tweaked, to every noise complaint they get. Obviously they are not doing anything useful if they are still getting the complaint. So, sure, use the exact same phrase for every complaint and anyone who reads the bad reviews (and who reads the good ones) will think, 'No, they really don't care what the problem is.'

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Madeleine wrote:

Oddly, that may be the 'industry expert' take on it but how about the potential guest? I see that statement as corporate boilerplate. I want to see a real response from a real, in charge person.

Why? Because it's the answer that lets me know what the innkeeper is like.

AGREE

Generic's picture
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It also tells them that you read each one and that if you say something stupid, you may get called on it.

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