Bad TripAdvisor reviews

February 21st, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Jamie Morton at NZ Herald reports:

A Bay of Plenty motelier says his business was unfairly smeared by a disgruntled guest on review website – prompting an industry outcry about similar cases.

Tony Drinkwater is getting legal advice after his Kaimai View Motel in Katikati was criticised online by a patron who, he says, arrived just before midnight and began banging on doors.

On checking out, he refused to pay the $195 a night he had been quoted for his group of four. He argued he should pay only the $160 rate given on the Automobile Association’s travel website.

The dispute “got a bit nasty” when the man refused to sign his credit card slip and threatened to write a bad review of the motel on TripAdvisor, which claims to be the world’s largest travel site, with more than 50 million customer reviews.

Mr Drinkwater said the man later cancelled his credit card and is trying to get his money refunded.

But he was more annoyed a review had since appeared on TripAdvisor describing him as “dishonest with pricing”, while adding the rooms in the four-and-a-half-star motel were “very basic”.

Under “Room Tip”, the patron wrote: “No good room, go for another motel.”

Mr Drinkwater said TripAdvisor had refused to delete the review, “even though I gave all of the details and it clearly showed that this review is deliberately malice and deliberately false”.

“If you look at our other reviews, we’ve got a fantastic reputation.”

While Mr Drinkwater posted a response to the review, the website’s guidelines prevented him posting material to back it up.

I have found TripAdvisor excellent for selecting where to stay. I make a point of not just going off the ratings but also reading the reviews.

Yes some customers may leave an unfair review, but the solution is not to try and get that review removed, but to encourage all your other customers to leave reviews. Unless you are doing something wrong, your good reviews should easily dominate the bad reviews and aspiring customers will not place undue weight on the bad ones.

His lawyers were investigating whether he had a case against the website.

No, don’t do that. TripAdvisor can’t be expected to judge who is right or wrong when it comes to a review. If you threaten lawsuits, then you risk such sites closing, and that is unfair to those of us who use them. Also the site will become less useful if owners can bully bad reviews off the site. As I said above, the response to a bad review should be lots of good reviews. ¬†You could even have a computer available at checkout logged into TripAdvisor where people can do their review as they check out.

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16 Responses to “Bad TripAdvisor reviews”

  1. straya (85 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t think of travelling O/S without consulting Tripadvisor, especially in relation to where to stay. When you read a single scathing review of accomodation which is inconsistent with the tenor of the other reviews, I just ignore it; there are always some people who are impossible to satisfy or who have an axe to grind. Plus, the owner has the ability to respond to reviews, good or bad. The proprieter here should avail himself of that facility and write a brief reply explaining his side of the story.

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  2. dime (10,109 comments) says:

    exactly. there are always going to be a few bad reviews, it is the internet after all. lots of haters. i always read a batch of reviews.

    i guess if youre a pessimist one bad review may be enough..

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  3. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    Trip advisor is a nonsense with a recent court case in Europe against them (which they lost) highlighting the fact that most of the good reviews have been posted by the hotel themselves with a heap of professional public relations firms offering this service. On the other hand you have guests using bad reviews as blackmail material for upgrades discounts etc. You also end up with total numbnuts who live in pigstye statehouses in Taita getting hypercritical about dusty lampshades that apparantly totally ruined their stay.

    Its a fucking joke how powerfull this thing has become and in reality it is not very trustworthy.

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  4. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    As someone who uses tripadvisor the proprietor in this case annoys the hell out of me.

    Basically reviews are to be taken with a grain of salt, you get bad ones from people who hold a grudge, but equally you get good ones from “mates” of owners etc etc.

    The truth is always in the middle & it totally lacks credibility to suggest the only manipulation of reviews is negative, if anything I would suggest the more frequent manipulation is on the positive side.

    Safe to say I now know one place never to visit in Katikati.

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  5. wreck1080 (3,964 comments) says:

    I’m siding with the complainant in the AA case.

    The AA does quote 160 for the room, so why did they charge him 195? The details are vague as to why.

    I use trip advisor frequently – I can usually spot and ignore false reviews . Even the best hotel in the world will have some 1-star postings.

    Tripadvisor generally has not put me wrong, and , I’ve written several reviews to supp.

    Strange the number of kiwi motels that haven’t heard of this site, and are surprised when I mention they were rated well.

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  6. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    The AA does quote 160 for the room, so why did they charge him 195? The details are vague as to why

    So the complainer is upset with the AA?

    I often read many of the comments on restaurants, hotels, product reviews, etc. Its the only way to find the ones that seem the most genuine, which means ignoring the 1 stars and the 5 stars.

    2 and 4 stars are where the useful information sits.

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  7. s.russell (1,646 comments) says:

    Free speech cannot be limited to those who are sensible and intelligent. While the complainer may be in the wrong he is entitled to have his say. Sensible use of TripAdviser involves looking at a range of views and filtering out the outliers.

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  8. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    Take too much notice of online reviews and you’d never go anywhere or buy anything.
    Some people are very easily pleased, others find fault with everything. And as you’ve no idea who any of these people are…
    In the end, you have to take a chance and go with your instincts.

    Did hear a woman once moaning to a receptionist about traffic noise and she was going to post a bad review on Tripadvisor. It was a city centre hotel. Traffic to be expected, I thought.

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  9. andretti (130 comments) says:

    Dumb bugger,doesnt he know that all one has to do is get his family and freinds to write good reviews as do most hotels/motels that are on the top listings.dont believe me then take a look at the top ranked places and check to see that all/most reviews are one offs,that is the so called guests only ever write a review of that establishment.you can even buy reviews from a site in the UK ( sorry i dont have a link here)for 5 quid a shot.tripadvisor knows about fake reviews but its not in their interest to advertise the bad press they will get as well as informing guests not to trust tripadvisor.rest assured that tripadvisor is doomed

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  10. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    I recommend booking.com myself. My wife and I used it extensively on our trip around Europe over Christmas. Good interface, good app version, useful reviews, good deals, etc.

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  11. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    I once saw a computor based salary review – that was made as a joke.

    It had a box below the question “Are being paid enough?”

    the box had a yes section and a no section.
    If you tried to move the cursor over the no section – the box moved……..

    You could only click the yes box. No matter how fast I tried I couldnt get a click in the no box.

    So – at the checkout the survey would be the same “Have you really enjoyed your stay here?”

    ………….. obviously its Yes.

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  12. andretti (130 comments) says:

    Ryan
    I recommend booking.com myself.

    Always one gets the best deal direct with the hotel,makes sence as sites like booking.com can charge up to 20%commision.this aplies for most hotels and motels that are savy.Here we offer at least a 10%cheaper rate than anything listed on any other site,as you will find most hotels are now doing.Once upon a time you could get cheaper rooms online but times are a changing,in fact if any one mentions to me a rate on a third party site say at $140 i will sell at hotel level for $120 and give a free drink or such.

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  13. hubbers (142 comments) says:

    To book a particular hotel in Europe you could find 20 (or more) different prices on 20 different websites due to the excellent competitive online marketplace.

    What would be really stupid though would be to get a less than optimal price by choosing the wrong booking site or booking comparison site and then trying to renegotiate on the day and having a temper tantrum that got so out of control that you wilfully tried to damage another persons business.

    If you want to compare loads of hotels at once then try trivaago.com. Once you have found the best price, close the browser and come back to the chosen hotel via and book via quidco.com which will give you some of the affiliate cut back.

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  14. Put it away (2,880 comments) says:

    Might be time to start a GuestAdvisor site, a registry of known fuckwits

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  15. joseph.clements (1 comment) says:

    Bang on, the best way to respond to bad reviews is to get more good reviews. In response to “You could even have a computer available at checkout logged into TripAdvisor where people can do their review as they check out.” I would not advice this, as most of the accommodation review websites (booking.com, Google Places, Tripadviser) can tell if multiple reviews are coming from the same IP address. I can’t recall if Tripadviser do, but it is common practice in the industry.

    Again I”m not 100% sure on Tripadviser’s policy, but I know Google Places tries to overcome 1 off “mate” reviews by assigning more value to regular reviewers, so 2 positive reviews from seasoned travellers who often leave well written reviews ends up being more useful than 5 positive reviews from your cousins.

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