How can this offer be okay?

20 replies [Last post]
seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

i received an email from a place i stayed that once i post a review i get 25% off my next stay. it doesn't say it has to be complimentary   but how can this be legit?

__________________

Wear cute PJ’s to bed; you never know who you may meet in your dreams.

 

seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

Generic, I understand.  I had no idea that some inns, b&b's and hotels offered incentives for reviews on their sites. Mentioning the review sites in the same email ... well  ... That's all I am going to say ... except 25% is a big discount.  My room was $279 per night for two nights.  If I booked there again with a discount, that's dinner out with my two friends, plus coffee for the drive and gas money. 

Generic's picture
Offline
Joined:
02/24/2011

To clear this up.... the reviews they want posted are on their own website, not on TA or elsewhere? That's fine to incentivise, but TA doesn't allow you to incentivise reviews.

__________________

Permission to quote in whole or in part, other than usage on this forum, is entirely forbidden.

 

seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

notAgrandma - no.  Generic mentioned sending a note to TA  ....   

There weren't old reviews prior to my coming in as it was not up and running as a licensed b&b for years before online reviews took off. There was just a local bad reputation for it being closed and in disrepair. That was my biggest challenge ... getting the locals to see what had changed and that it WAS open.  

As a guest, I don't look at old reviews. I want to know what a place is like now. 

 

 

seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

absolutely i would want to keep old reviews if they were good except possible problems with things the po!s did that you don't ...that is awful about someone being vindictive  stayed once i assume? 

seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

I won't be contacting anyone about it ... I understand you can do what you want with your own site but it feels wrong to me especially adding the suggestion to post on review sites in the same email offering a discount. I don't want to belabor the point ... but it seems some really are feeling pressure to get those reviews 

notAgrandma's picture
Offline
Joined:
07/07/2017

Seashanty, I'm not sure if your comment about not "contacting anyone about it" was directed at me because it wasn't posted as a reply to my comment. Who would you contact about it? TripAdvisor? Feel free. I'm not offering an incentive for TripAdvisor reviews. I specifically said "I discourage guests from leaving TA reviews." 

Google reviews boost your SEO, TA reviews do not. You're not feeling pressure to advertise and boost your ranking in Google search results? How much do you pay to list on different websites to increase your online exposure? And what about repeat guests? You don't feel a need to encourage folks to stay again?

I don't feel my actions are shady, but I can understand how some folks might feel I'm walking a fine line. Purchasing 300 positive reviews when you buy a B&B is dishonest. The new owners didn't earn those reviews.

__________________

Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. - John Wooden

 

PhineasSwann's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/25/2012

notAgrandma wrote:

Purchasing 300 positive reviews when you buy a B&B is dishonest. The new owners didn't earn those reviews.

I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a moment. If you purchase an inn that has a sterling reputation, part of what you're purchasing is that "goodwill." It's actually an asset when valuing the business. 

Reviewers don't just comment on the owners. They comment on the rooms. The property. The area. Things to do in the region. The tablecloths. The linens. The beds. Unless you burned the place to the ground and relocated it at closing, I think leaving up previous owner reviews is perfectly acceptable. Newer reviewers will make the comment that the inn has new owners, and they're wonderful, terrible, ugly, etc. Readers understand context. And truthfully, they only read down 3 or 4 reviews at most. 

__________________

Darren Drevik
Innkeeper & Owner, Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn

 

notAgrandma's picture
Offline
Joined:
07/07/2017

"They comment on the rooms. The property. The area. Things to do in the region. The tablecloths. The linens. The beds."

Aside from rooms & location, I humbly beg to differ on your assessment. New owners wouldn't necessarily have the same decor, furniture, tablecloths, linens, or beds. (I started from almost nothing. My supposed "turnkey" B&B was a joke!) New owners definitely wouldn't serve the same breakfasts, or greet the guests in the same manner, or provide the same recommendations for local sights and dining. New owners may also have different policies regarding cancellations, deposits, refunds, or even check-in times. 

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

notAgrandma wrote:

"They comment on the rooms. The property. The area. Things to do in the region. The tablecloths. The linens. The beds."

Aside from rooms & location, I humbly beg to differ on your assessment. New owners wouldn't necessarily have the same decor, furniture, tablecloths, linens, or beds. (I started from almost nothing. My supposed "turnkey" B&B was a joke!) New owners definitely wouldn't serve the same breakfasts, or greet the guests in the same manner, or provide the same recommendations for local sights and dining. New owners may also have different policies regarding cancellations, deposits, refunds, or even check-in times. 

And all of that comes out in the reviews. We lost a good chunk of the PO's repeat guests because they didn't like our policies. We did serve the same breakfasts, we bought their recipes. Everything was the same for several years until we had the vision to change things. We're still changing things and it's been 13 years. We didn't have the money to make changes at first.

After a couple of years the PO reviews were buried.

For us, that was only 10 reviews or so, but we bought a place with a good rep and we weren't going out of our way to make waves.

It's very hard to get TA to change the status quo. We had 3 b&B's that were closed for years but TA would not remove them. They are gone now, but another one that's been closed for years has just started showing up again.

If you change the name of the property TA will eventually catch on.

__________________

Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes. - Oscar Wilde

 

Offline
Joined:
10/04/2015

We asked for a clean slate and they wouldn't do it! think they make it up as they go along!

seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

It says" on our website". " Once we receive your review and it meets our guidelines you'll receive a link where you can make a discounted reservation. "

 Then down below it says " please also consider posting reviews on T A, Ye lp, hote ls.com, etc.   Want to be a preferred guest and receive special offers? Sign up here with a link. ". Hmmmm

You think if I posted a negative review it would meet with their guidelines?  Course if I didn't want to stay there again I wouldn't want a discount for a return visit ...

wink

 

 

 

Generic's picture
Offline
Joined:
02/24/2011

Maybe sent TA a note showing that they're violating their ToS... so their competitors don't have to suffer because they can't manage to compete fairly?

Highlands John's picture
Offline
Joined:
04/16/2010

I can't see that it's breaking TA rules if they're only offering the discount for reviews on their own site.

__________________

If you wanted hotel facilities you should have booked a hotel and paid hotel prices!!!

 

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Post a review where? Their own website? TA? Google?

__________________

All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

what a surprise .. they have lots of great reviews 

notAgrandma's picture
Offline
Joined:
07/07/2017

Folks have mentioned in these forums about TA not allowing their guests to post positive reviews. Yelp filters reviews and hides ones from people it doesn't consider top contributors. Is it really so horrible for a B&B to attempt to circumnavigate negative reviews by asking folks to contact them directly instead of ranting online?

A B&B in my city sold a few years ago. The new owners purchased 350 positive TA reviews from the previous owners. When I bought my B&B, I submitted proof of new ownership to TA and they hit the "reset" button, so I started from zero. I've mentioned this to the new owners of the other B&B, but oddly enough they aren't inclined to remove the reviews earned by the previous owners. I've slowly accumulated 150 reviews over the past 6 years. I had a guest attempt to steal from me, but TA won't remove her 1-star review, despite my numerous requests and proof of her theft.

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

We kept all the good reviews the previous owners had. The inn was #1 in town for years. Then other innkeepers caught on to the review system and we slipped to third. Then we had a guest who hated me and he kept writing bad reviews. TA wouldn't help us. So now we're solidly at the bottom of the list, never to see the light of day again.

It's just like high school all over again.

Highlands John's picture
Offline
Joined:
04/16/2010

There seems to be a growing body of thought in this forum that says we can't ask for reviews in case we upset someone and we can't offer incentives for reviews on our own website in case it upsets TA, whereas Morticia's experience shows that guests will totally use the review culture to beat us as soon as it suits them, potentially wrecking our business overnight that's taken years to grow.

I will do whatever I can to ensure there is a body of good reviews out there in the ether if I think it will encourage others to book, staying within what I think people would regard as acceptable practices.

Generic's picture
Offline
Joined:
02/24/2011

It's not. You aren't allowed to offer an incentive. You can send them a thank you, but you can't tell them ahead of time.

notAgrandma's picture
Offline
Joined:
07/07/2017

Per TripAdvisor's rules, you're not allowed to offer an incentive. Google doesn't restrict businesses from offering an incentive. I discourage guests from posting reviews on TA. I encourage Google reviews. "Online reviews really help our business. Please click on this link to our google listing and leave a review. Our repeat guests receive a $25 gift certificate towards their next stay. If, for any reason, your stay with us was not a 5-star experience, please email us. Honest feedback from our guests is the best way for us to learn about changes we can make to elevate our B&B."

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.