It’s hard to read negative reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and it’s especially hard when a guest threatens to blackmail you with a negative review if they don’t get their way. We’ve heard some horror stories in our day from clients about the demands guests make in exchange for a neutral or positive review. It’s a terrible situation but did you know that TripAdvisor has features to help mitigate these legitimate blackmail reviews? TripAdvisor defines blackmail as: “When a guest threatens to write a negative review unless a demand for a refund, upgrade, or other request is met.”
First, you’ll need to log into your TripAdvisor account and visit the management center.
From there, head over to your “manage reviews” section. There, you’ll click the “concerned about a review?” They’ll ask what the issue is and you’ll need to select “report fraud,” you’ll then be prompted about what you want to do and you’ll select “report blackmail threat.”
TripAdvisor recommends reporting it immediately to help the investigation move through quicker. Once they’re alerted to the blackmail threat, they’ll review your case and watch your account for any low-rating review that matches the details and correspondence you provided. Keep track of any emails, phone or in-person conversations about the threat as TripAdvisor may contact you for more information about your report. This process is created to stop the review from posting to the site which is why it’s important to report it right away.
If the guest is speedy and has already posted the review you can still report it under the “concerned about the review?” tab. This time you’ll select “problem with review” as your issue and cite that the review is suspicious. Again, you’ll want to present the facts and any supporting documentation to show the review is blackmail.
Remember, TripAdvisor does not guarantee that the review will not be posted or removed from the site and still recommends that you respond to the negative review so other TripAdvisor users can read your response. It’s better to respond and present the facts of the situation than to let it sit there unanswered where other potential guests could use it as a reason to book with someone else.
When responding to a bad review on TripAdvisor, it’s important to follow their guidelines which include: family-friendly language, original and professional content, respectful of the guest’s personal privacy, and non-commercial (no URLs). You’ll also want to respond quickly, thank the guest for taking the time to write the review, and address their specific concerns or issues they shared. It’s been found that 70% of TripAdvisor users are less likely to book with a hotel when a manager’s response is aggressive or defensive and 87% of travelers think an appropriate management response to a bad review improves their impression of the hotel. The guest’s experience with your hotel online is just as important as their experience on-site.
What other tips do you have for fellow hoteliers on responding to negative reviews? Tell us in the comments section below!