Yesterday, TripAdvisor announced a new tool that allows hoteliers to proactively report potential blackmailing reviewers before their slanderous reviews ever reach the site. TripAdvisor says:
“We hear from owners that potential “blackmail” – when a guest threatens to write a negative review unless a demand for a refund, upgrade, or other request is met – is an occasional concern. We now have a way for you to proactively report these threats before a corresponding review is submitted.”
TripAdvisor not only provides hoteliers with a list of step-by-step directions that walk you through how to report this blackmail, but it also provides users with a handy two-page, easy-to-print PDF that offers some more detail on the subject.
These so called “blackmailers” are lamentably familiar guests to nearly all hoteliers and restaurateurs. In such a competitve hospitality marketplace where reputation management has never been a higher priority, it is understandably frustrating when these incidents occur, particularly when an honest, unprovoked service recovery effort has been made by the establishment.
While this new TripAdvisor tool will undoubtedly help reputation managers combat many of the unfair critiques disgruntled guests threaten, there is a reality here than ought to give dismayed hoteliers a bit of hope. As the number of contributors to sites such as TripAdvisor has grown over the years, so too has the savvy of the review readership. A scathing 1 or 2 star review from a vehemently unhappy guest, who clearly did not get what he or she wanted, is a contribution many prospective readers will digest with a skeptical eye, especially when surrounded by great reviews. While the bad review may slightly impact your overall TripAdvisor score in the short-term, hoteliers should not expect a fatal dent in their properties’ overall online reputation. Delivering proactive, exemplary guest service is the cornerstone of a high TripAdvisor ranking, and this narrative will be played out on your hotel’s TripAdvisor page in the end.
TripAdvisor’s helpful new tool will help hoteliers to tell their superlative guest satisfaction narrative with more clarity and conviction than ever before, and will make proactive online reputation management even easier to achieve. We look forward to seeing this tool’s imapact and how hoteliers will take advantage of this new opportunity.