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The Farmers Daughter

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My chair breaking, room trashing guest from last weekend send a scathing review to Trip Advisor. It was so embellished with BS and untruths that I am certain she did it to exact her revenge.
At first she sent me an apology email saying she was sorry for breaking the chair. I charged her for the cost of the repair as we 'discussed' via email. ( I saved them.) In other words, it was mutally agreed to. Should I respond to TA?
Some of the things she said were so rediculous, she could have been talking about somewhere else.
She claims all her windows were left open all day, they had no screens and the bugs were all over the place. First off, who doesn't have window screens? Secondly , when she checked in, I was the one who showed her to her room and personally showed her how to close the old fashioned windows we have (the kind with weights). She said she preferred the AC on and to just close them all. So I did and the AC was on for the duration of her stay. This is just an example of her 6 paragraph rant.
Long story short. She posted a false review on TA because she is feeling vindictive. Should I reply or ignor it?
I will be discussing this with the PTB in the next day or so, just wanted some advice. Thanks
 

One Day

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my perspective...
A lie is a lie.....right now only 2 people know
I have no idea how many reviews you have.....if this is the one odd one....let it slide.
Reasonable people will figure it out...
Here's one thing I was wondering where it concerned TA....Those that write this was the best B&B we have stayed at yet.....We had the best breakfast at this B&B......do they write the same thing for all their B&B stays?
 

Morticia

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If you address it, stick to the facts, ma'am. No window screens? Yes, we have screens on all of our windows. If she didn't mention the A/C, you shouldn't either. You can make mention of you (the innkeeper, owner, whatever you want to say) showing her to her room and explaining how things worked and how to get in touch with you should there be any problems. Did you say you have phones in the rooms and that you live there? You could say you wished she had used the inroom phone to call you as you live right on the premises and you would have been happy to remedy any problem she had if you had known about it.
Don't mention anything else that she doesn't mention in the review. I'll bet she didn't mention the chair!
If you have a ton of good reviews and no issues that she mentions, you might let it go. HOWEVER, if she read the other reviews and started picking out things others said (that you may have addressed ages ago) you might want to mention those things. It really depends on how bad the review was and whether or not anything she said echoed what someone else may have said. Especially if the other review was a long time ago.
I realize how awful that sounds, that someone would look at other reviews and say, 'Yeah, that was wrong, too,' even if it wasn't, just to make herself sound more credible. See what I'm saying?
 

seashanty

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respond - short and sweet and without rancor or sarcasm - that you are sorry the guest was displeased, etc. and then let it get buried in with (hopefully) positive reviews. i think there are recent posts here of how innkeepers have responded to negatives.
sorry this happened.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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respond - short and sweet and without rancor or sarcasm - that you are sorry the guest was displeased, etc. and then let it get buried in with (hopefully) positive reviews. i think there are recent posts here of how innkeepers have responded to negatives.
sorry this happened..
seashanty said:
that you are sorry the guest was displeased, etc.
Saying that she is sorry that the guest was displeased only validates the complaints in my opinion.
Lies must be rebutted in a clear, direct, unemotional way as others have advised.
I don't for a second believe that most or even a majority of casual TA users are savvy enough to read between the lines and distinguish between the nuances of bonafide reviews and false, lie filled punishment reviews.
I see it every day on TA, where innocent enough sounding people post questions about places with doubts on whether or not to book because one bad review gave them pause.
We just had a terrific guest check out today and explain how far above and beyond even her high expectations from reading all of our reveiws on TA were fulfilled. We kind of laughed and told her our stock answer that we never solicit or prod for reviews and that we wish we could trust 100% of what we read there. She gave us a puzzled look and admitted she had no idea that nothing there is verified or vetted for truthfulness or accuracy. She just ASSUMED every review gets checked somehow. I think she is probably a very typical TA user.
These are our livelihoods we're talking about and some cretin is going to cost one of us business just to exact revenge and the best we can suggest is to paint on a fake smile and admit something other than the destructive lout's behavior was wrong?
 

seashanty

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no. i'm not saying admit something was wrong that was not ....... but you can bet i truly am sorry a guest is displeased!! i am also sorry i am unable to refund a deposit, sorry i cannot accept pet guests, and sorry i cannot put 4 persons in a 2 person max occupancy room. i don't agree it would be helpful for fd to respond the way you seem to be suggesting.
where oh where is that thread ......... i'm going searching.
 

gillumhouse

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Listen to Bree & SeaShanty. They are the most levelheaded and best responders to crap than anyone on this Forum.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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I'm not suggesting she do anything rash or be undiplomatic in her response, but based on the circumstances as they were described here, FD has nothing to be "sorry" about.
Well, aside from maybe having the bad luck and misfortune of taking that reservation to begin with I suppose.
Since when does the "wronged" party in any dispute have to be "sorry"?
We're proprietors, hosts, ambassadors for our areas, etc. I don't see doormat or sponge for abuse, lies and vindictive malicousness in that description anywhere.
This guest trashed her room, broke stuff, blah...blah...blah..... and instead of thanking her lucky stars that she encountered an innkeeper whose financiers refuse to let her deal with problem guests as they should be, she still did all that lousy stuff AND wrote a lie filled, revenge oriented review on the world's most visible travel related website.
That's the thing that bugs me the most about that type of guest, who just can't slink off and forget about it. They want to immortalize their revenge by making sure it gets put out there for the whole world to see and continue abusing their poor host by putting the onus on them to rebut it or suck it up and ignore it. All through the bogus, false anonymity that TA affords along with the cunnard that what a lying sack of dung is "helping" other travelers.
We can disagree on stuff, its ok.
Believe me, we've written two management responses to lie filled, punishment oriented reviews we've gotten and both were written in anger with total contempt for the reviewer's audacity to abuse the unverified nature of TA.
Have we lost a few guests over them? Maybe.
But we've also had lots of guests volunteer that they were thrilled to see a business owner forcefully refute the false claims contained within those reviews. What we've hopefully lost thanks to them is any other jerks like the two that wrote them thinking we're pushovers for similar bad behavior and making the mistake of booking here.
 

gillumhouse

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I'm not suggesting she do anything rash or be undiplomatic in her response, but based on the circumstances as they were described here, FD has nothing to be "sorry" about.
Well, aside from maybe having the bad luck and misfortune of taking that reservation to begin with I suppose.
Since when does the "wronged" party in any dispute have to be "sorry"?
We're proprietors, hosts, ambassadors for our areas, etc. I don't see doormat or sponge for abuse, lies and vindictive malicousness in that description anywhere.
This guest trashed her room, broke stuff, blah...blah...blah..... and instead of thanking her lucky stars that she encountered an innkeeper whose financiers refuse to let her deal with problem guests as they should be, she still did all that lousy stuff AND wrote a lie filled, revenge oriented review on the world's most visible travel related website.
That's the thing that bugs me the most about that type of guest, who just can't slink off and forget about it. They want to immortalize their revenge by making sure it gets put out there for the whole world to see and continue abusing their poor host by putting the onus on them to rebut it or suck it up and ignore it. All through the bogus, false anonymity that TA affords along with the cunnard that what a lying sack of dung is "helping" other travelers.
We can disagree on stuff, its ok.
Believe me, we've written two management responses to lie filled, punishment oriented reviews we've gotten and both were written in anger with total contempt for the reviewer's audacity to abuse the unverified nature of TA.
Have we lost a few guests over them? Maybe.
But we've also had lots of guests volunteer that they were thrilled to see a business owner forcefully refute the false claims contained within those reviews. What we've hopefully lost thanks to them is any other jerks like the two that wrote them thinking we're pushovers for similar bad behavior and making the mistake of booking here..
It falls in the category of - I am so sorry you are so ugly - responses that apologize and say they are so sorry you are so stupid - etc. THAT is the kind of I am sorry.
Dear Madam,
I am so sorry that you were too ticked off to have a good time and were so fat you broke my chair (the mental apology FD wishes she could verbalize).
Stick with Bree and SS type answers. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar - and they do not come back to bite you.
 

JBloggs

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I would not respond at all. If she is one who only has one contribution on TA, then that speaks volumes. Ignore it, and let the rest of the glowing reviews overcome her ugliness. Hard to do, hard to not take it personal, but I believe in the end she will look like the baffoon.
 

Copperhead

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If this is the only (or one of only a few) bad reviews on your B&B on TA, I would swallow hard and let it go. I think that a bad review will get overshaddowed by all the positive ones and when someone babbles on for 6 paragraphs about everything under the sun that was wrong...when no one else complains of these issues, it only makes her review less damaging. I am still under the assumption that most people can read between the lines and know that this person is just an unhappy bit I mean witch. I also think (and have been told by many guests) that readers expect to see negitave reviews because those are the ones that make it a POINT to post.
What I say is to let a week go by, do not look at TA, do not look at the emails and try to move on for a week or so, things have a way of not being such a big deal over time. But, if you still feel you must reply - reply like Bree and SS has stated...
 

SweetiePie

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I'm afraid the old "ignore it and it will be buried" tactic will no longer work on TA since anyone can look up reviews by star rating now. Also, nothing sounds more insincere than an innkeeper apologizing for a guest's bad behavior or worse yet sounding incredulous that someone could write such a thing. We all know they CAN and DO.
Since TA has chosen to throw us under the bus once again by supposedly warning travelers about fake property reviews (just a publicity stunt in my opinion since this same article has shown up twice now). I think it's high time we called a spade a spade in our Management Responses. If the guest is lying then say so and give your side of the story. That is what a Management Response is supposed to be. Your side of the story; not an apology unless you actually are at fault in some way and are telling how you've rectified the problem.
Tim's right, in the fact that, it sends the message loud and clear to other would-be blackmailers that they will be exposed and their behavior not tolerated. Travelers have had the upper hand long enough on that site and it is time that we leveled the playing field.
If a strong, honest approach deters some business; then it it probably PITA business that you don't want anyway.
 

wendydk

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One of our recent reviews, while positive, and an overall "4" rating, mentioned that the guest thought our pillows were too hard, and that he had to improvise for a pillow that was as soft as his personal pillow that he forgot to bring. I did respond to that review, saying "thank you so much for your kind words, had I known about your pillow predicament while you were here, I would have scoured the house for the perfect pillow!"
I realize that your issue (and the tone of the review) is not the same, but I think it's important to point out to the reviewer and anyone who reads it how unfair it is to mention an issue in a review that was never mentioned in person to the Innkeeper or staff. It also shows readers that had you known, you would have addressed any problem.
A "I'm sorry that we were not aware of your issues during your stay. Had you mentioned them to us, we would have been happy to address any problems you may have had" is simple and to the point. Maybe a "perhaps the furniture damaged during your stay caused you not to approach us" added in there would do the trick!
Gets all points across without becoming insulting or cringe-worthy.
 

JBloggs

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I stick by my original thought, too many erroneous comments to deal with, better off leaving it stand on its own. If just a couple issues are addressed then the others are not? Or if you address all of them, it doesn't look good. Give people the benefit of the doubt to realize that there are losers in this world who go onto TA to complain and gripe. Like that innkeeper in GA wrote something about "I hope your life gets better" or something.. ha ha
 

SweetiePie

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my perspective...
A lie is a lie.....right now only 2 people know
I have no idea how many reviews you have.....if this is the one odd one....let it slide.
Reasonable people will figure it out...
Here's one thing I was wondering where it concerned TA....Those that write this was the best B&B we have stayed at yet.....We had the best breakfast at this B&B......do they write the same thing for all their B&B stays?.
No, they don't. Those type of compliments are hard to come by and must be earned. However, what TA is doing now is planting doubt in traveler's mind about positive reviews; that they may be fake and not true. This does none of us any good.
 

seashanty

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Dear Guest,
Thank you for your payment for the furniture broken during your stay.

We are sorry you were dissatisfied in any way. However, after demonstrating how to open and close our screened windows, if we had been made aware that any bugs had somehow flown into your room, we would have dealt with the situation immediately.
Etc.
farmers daughter - read everything here, maybe check out the suggestions on the trip advisor forum, talk it over with your partners, and then do what feels right to you and to them.
we each have our own approach.
some would be silent.
some would let her have it.
some would be someplace in the middle.
i would probably write and rewrite my response, but i would definitely respond.
whatever you do, it has to feel right TO YOU.
 

The Farmers Daughter

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Thank you all for your input. I have been given the go ahead by the PTB to draft a response. I took some of your ideas and came up with this rough draft. Do you think its too much? Opinions are appreciated. Thanks!
[FONT= &quot]It saddens us to hear that you did not enjoy your stay at the _______Bed and Breakfast. We have an excellent reputation for clean and comfortable lodging since the start of our business in 1997. We are an owner operated establishment and live on site.[/FONT][FONT= &quot][/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]We regret you were dissatisfied in any way. However, after demonstrating how to open and close our screened windows, if we had been made aware that any bugs had somehow flown into your room, we would have dealt with the situation immediately. [/FONT][FONT= &quot][/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]All rooms have extra blankets and pillows available for the asking. It is peculiar to us as to why with all the emailing from your room to the inns office during your stay, why any problems or concerns would have gone unmentioned until after your departure.[/FONT][FONT= &quot][/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]It is unfortunate that we were not aware of your issues while your were with us. Had you mentioned them, we would have been happy to address any problems you may have had. Perhaps the burnt matches, the spilled candle wax in the carpet, the pizza remains found stuffed into the dresser as well as the furniture damaged during your stay caused you not to approach us.[/FONT][FONT= &quot][/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Furthermore, in emails after your departure in which you apologized for the damage done to your room and agreed to pay for the damages, to write such a disparaging review is nothing short of retaliatory and vindictive.[/FONT][FONT= &quot][/FONT]
[FONT= &quot]Your insulting comments about our staff, shows contempt for our inn & we are very glad that you would not return.[/FONT][FONT= &quot] [/FONT]
 

SweetiePie

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I like it, except I woud delete the last sentence. it is overkill.
 

seashanty

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fd, i would delete the last sentence. pass it along to your partners ... i'm sure they'll have input.
ps i really don't get the pizza stuffed in the bureau ~
 

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