Hoteliers: Stop Torturing Us on TripAdvisor

Memo to hoteliers: stop polluting Tripadvisor with self-serving, self-centered hollow comments. Please.

I know reputation management firms advise hoteliers to respond to x% of TripAdvisor posts, both positive and negative. They point to data that allegedly draws a clear connection between hotel management posts and guests finding that engagement to be positive.

Not me. Not usually.

It’s hard to see anybody connecting with what management usually posts.

The other day I was reading reviews of a resort where many guests angrily complained about the slow, balky WiFi. In just about every case, a hotel functionary posted a comment to the effect that “our WiFi is excellent.” Except – quite obviously – it is not.

What happened there? After reading the management response, probably the initial posters are mad because their quite legitimate concerns are dismissed as wrong. They are depicted as somehow the cause of their own bad WiFi.

But even more to the point: how many prospective guests such as myself read the hotel response, have come to believe it false, and conclude that this hotel just is out of touch with the reality of its operational failings and also has no clue how irritating their comments are to many, many readers. Guests are not to blame for operational failures.

Another TripAdvisor plague: hotels that copy and paste the same boilerplate after just about every guest review and, inevitably, it is mindless swill. “Greetings from the shady side of the island where the surf is gentle and so are the breezes. Thank you for your comment. I have referred it to our operational team.”

One time that comment is ignorable. When it is on every page, many times, it’s logorrhea, just verbal diarrhea smearing the page.

Another favorite (not) line from hoteliers, typically in response to blisteringly negative reviews: “We hope you will give us another chance with a return visit so we will have the opportunity to make a better impression.”

In this case, that is in response to a long review that complained – loudly – about inadequate housekeeping, worn room finishings, mediocre food and more. That guest is not coming back and neither will TripAdvisor readers if the best the hotel can do is sigh and beg for another chance.

Mind you, I am all for a hotel using TripAdvisor as an adjunct to its customer service channels. Personally I am a lot more likely to post on Twitter, even TripAdvisor, than I am to air a complaint with hotel management. So, maybe, if the hotelier is swift and committed he/she can turn around a moment of my unhappiness that had been ventilated on a social channel.

But when the hotel clutters TripAdvisor with repetitious, pointless points – well, just stop it unless your underhanded goal is to drive readers off the site because you have concluded that those who read the many negative reviews just wouldn’t book. So better for you to have no readers at all.

Could a hotel do TripAdvisor right? Absolutely and a very few do. These are hoteliers who see the complaints as an opportunity to win back that irate customer – and also to show other guests and prospects that this is a hotel that genuinely cares. Be authentic, be real, be honest.

If many guests complain about the WiFi, guess what, the WiFi is a problem. Fix it. Don’t litter TripAdvisor with non-sequiturs. Just get the problem fixed.

I see some hotels really doing that. In reading a Phoenix hotel’s TripAdvisor page I noticed a couple reviewers complained that the well known restaurant was no longer as great as it had been. Then I noticed a comment from the GM where he acknowledged that and added that a new team was coming on board imminently, precisely to address those issues.

That’s impressive.

It’s also rare to see such honesty and energy.

Words of advice to hoteliers: Stop lying on TripAdvisor. Stop ignoring your hotel’s obvious failings. And really, please, stop polluting the pages with word after word of nonsensical posturing. That is no way to boost engagement, in fact it accomplishes the exact opposite: It drives guests and prospects away.

5 thoughts on “Hoteliers: Stop Torturing Us on TripAdvisor”

  1. I agree with you 100% this is exactly my frustration. They really do give very bad responses in a lot of cases, and it does NOT go unnoticed.

    Thank you for pointing this out.

  2. I suspect upper management decrees that the frachisor/GM WILL respond to each Tripadvisor comment, but doesn’t give them authority to correct the underlying problem. Result: the kind of drivel that drives the reader mad.

  3. YES recently tripped over GM answering with realization that others (not just reviewer) will read. He/she treated as an opportunity to SELL not just a chore. WOW For example in response “I noticed you made use of our $29.99 special” I Did not know about special. NOW I do. What more could a marketeer want than time with a buyer at the point of purchase. GO FOR THE CLOSE. I no longer love SPG because a GM in Hawaii chose to argue rather than find selling point. The BIZ customer is aware/awake. Take a United approach… Get a United result. Or live by the LIE die by the lie. JetBlue has told me the truth at times I did not know there was an issue. Reimbursement for missing TV. Who Knew?

    1. I am an hotelier and have revecied both negative and positive reviews on the likes of Trip Advisor, however there are 2 problems I see with review platforms. The first is that anyone can go and write an ill review and may never have stayed at your premises at all. Who would do such a thing you might ask? Your competition for one, and with Trip Advisor it seems to be a very simple thing to do without any screening. The kudos that is put on these reviews is the second problem. When you have an hotel with a mixture of good and bad reviews who then do you believe? It becomes a potent cocktail of confusion for the potential customer and in fact the bad reviews maybe just left with someone who has a grudge with you.Fot the owner of an establishment to keep on top of this it requires them to have a response and to try to let people know that if the complaint is genuine they have rectified it and used the complaint in a positive way but if the problem is not genuine how do you rebuff this without looking obstinate or unwilling to accept critism. In a word you can’t.I think review sites should find a way to weed out the genuine reviewers from the frauds, how this is done I have no suggestions yet but when you have an open platform for critism it is a very dangerous stage and open to abuse.

  4. I can understand what you are saying. My big beef is with the hotel owners or managers that brush off concerns as temporary. I recall one hotel that had a home router sitting on a stairwell for their “wi fi”. It would fill up and not allow connections, not work in most areas of the hotel, and not work very well when you did connect. The hotel had spent about $200 on their guest internet. However, despite even detailed complaints, they would brush it off as the provider or some other nonsense issue. Tripadvisor is not perfect, but it is more help than not, despite the frustrations.

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