The Union Street Guest House in the State of New York has been selected by several news agencies, including the New York Post, redditand even the online publication of time Magazine for his negative review policy. The hotel answered asserting politics was a joke that it never really wanted to prevail. In addition, the text of the directive has been removed from its website.
This screenshot is from The cached version of the Wayback machine I was able to retrieve it from the Internet this morning, even though the paragraph, which charges guests $ 500 for negative reviews, has been removed.
In a somewhat lesser-known debacle, the Bluesky Hostel in Glasgow got into an ugly internet dispute with a guest. The guest wrote a bad review and the owner of the hostel responded with insults. The entire chronicle was documented with screenshots and comments on Buzzfeed, (Attention: the language is blatant, most of the obscenity comes from the owner of the hostel.)
Here are some basic laws of the internet.
1. Nothing goes away on the internet. Think about what you want to publish online.
In the age of screenshots and caching, you are unlikely to be able to take back anything you say online. This can have a negative impact on your bookings. In a 2012 poll by PhoCusWright, the researchers found that "64% of users believe that an aggressive / defensive management response to a poor rating" causes me to no longer book the hotel. "Answer on a bad review "improves my impression of the hotel."
2. The Streisand Effect means that an attempt to hide, remove or censor information on the Internet is usually the unintended consequence of a wider release of the information. Instead of trying to hide mistakes, be honest with your guests and do not be afraid to apologize.
In 2003, Barbra Streisand sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and Pictopia.com for breach of privacy. The $ 50 million lawsuit required the removal of an aerial photograph of the Streisand mansion from a publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastal photographs. Before Streisand filed her claim, "Image 3850" was only downloaded six times from the website. Two of these downloads were done by the lawyers of Streisand. As a result, public awareness of the public increased significantly. The following month, more than 420,000 people visited the site. The term "Streisand Effect" was coined by Techdirt founder Mike Masnick to describe this phenomenon.
In the situation with Union Street Guest House, management tried to change history by claiming the $ 500 fine was a bad joke. The public reacted with even more outrage. People who had never stayed at the hotel flocked to the site to write a star rating.
3. The Internet loves a train accident. Avoid bad public relations by taking disputes ASAP offline.
In social media, the Bluesky Hostel would have minimized the damage with an apology and an offer to solve the problem offline. Instead, the owner's bad reaction sparked an internet flame war with over 700 comments, resulting in poor publicity. Some people just came to watch. Who knows how many potential guests read this and decided to stay somewhere else?
How should the owners of these hotels respond to negative reviews? They would have had to apologize for the bad experience, thank the guest for his feedback and offered to privately contact the guests to fix the situation. It does not matter if the guest misunderstood the offer of a property. It is the responsibility of the hotel to set the right expectations for the guests and it is the right of the guests to complain if these expectations are not met.
A follower of the Bluesky Hostel fiasco has the right idea:
If you need to change a policy, it's best to say the following: "Based on your feedback, we reevaluated this policy and decided that it does not meet our guest experience standards. We value every feedback from our guests and take it very seriously. In the future, our guests should be able to express themselves at any time, if they think fit. "
Looking for more information about responding to reviews? Download our free travel guide for hoteliers.