13 October 2011

Hotel in Ruins after Red Flag Stamp

Deborah Sinclair is experiencing firsthand the effects of a ruined online reputation. Her hotel, Riverside Hotel and Restaurant in Evesham, Worcs, is currently experiencing drastic decline in bookings because of an unintended bad reputation by a travel website.
TripAdvisor is one of the largest travel websites in the world that specialize in collecting customer reviews of destinations, hotels, activities and services. Their “Red Flag” stamp is a notice to online visitors that the reviews could be fraudulent because someone from the inside may have posted the review.
The website posted a tag on the hotel after it received a review from the IP address identical to the hotels locations. The website considered it an insider review which means fraud was committed. Comparing the IP address of the submission to the actual location of the hotel is one of the many fraud preventing methods used by TripAdvisor.
But the hotel owner vehemently denied that she, or anyone in her family or employees have made the review. The hotel owner clarified that the review actually came from a guest but was using the hotel’s free internet access through WiFi. Because the guest is using the hotel’s internet, the website assumed that it came from an insider.
TripAdvisor is currently reviewing the case. It’s not the first time that the travel website had some run-ins with hotel establishments especially with Red Flag and fraudulent tags. Deborah Sinclair is currently seeking legal actions against the website because of the financial ruins the website has done to her hotel.


Piers Walker said...

It is a shame that big websites have such a massive say in if people should go to a hotel or not. Of course it could also be made easier for the candidate visitor to find the best hotel; but in some cases it works against it... Shown in this post.
At least it is good that the major company looks into this, understandably it was considered as an 'inside' post; but that doesn't mean that the damage had not been done already.

Garry Phillips said...

In most of these cases one bad experience costs a business thousands of pounds. Large hotel chains can normally recoup the money and continue to function however small chains or single hotel owners could have their business killed by somebody with a chip on their shoulder. I think the online review system needs to be re-evaluated, to protect small businesses that do proved a good service.