TripAdvisor users ‘threaten hotels with blackmail’
It has been widely reported in most major UK newspapers today that hotel guests are blackmailing businesses into giving them upgrades and discounts by threatening to post bad reviews on the popular consumer website TripAdvisor.
The story, which originated from The Times newspaper, reported that more than 80 hotel and B&B owners have complained of being subjected to blackmail by customers.
Incidents included false reports of food poisoning and theft being posted after guests’ threats were ignored and a demand for a 50 per cent discount on the hotel bill in return for not posting a one-star review.
Industry insiders said that a bad review on TripAdvisor can cost businesses tens of thousands of pounds in lost bookings, as travellers tend to trust reviews posted by peers.
Threats were said to be “strictly against our guidelines, but it may also be illegal. We take allegations of blackmail or threatening behaviour by guests against property owners very seriously.” said a spokeswoman for TripAdvisor.
The website, whose slogan is ‘Get the truth. Then go’ launched in 2000, attracts around 45 million unique visitors a month.