Sunday, November 7, 2010

TripAdvisor Fatal Attraction

A bizarre story in the Herald on Sunday caught our eye today about a Rotorua motel and the fatal attraction that their guests have incurred after posting unflattering reviews on

In January this year, Karen Williams from Auckland booked into a Roturua motel with her extended family and complained about flea bites that she allegedly received during her stay. She claims that the motel owners were less than sympathetic, so she checked-out without paying the $160.00 accommodation bill.

Williams later wrote a scathing and extensive post on TripAdvisor covering her misfortunes:

Read the full TripAdvisor post including the motel owners 
response HERE.

It was reported that Williams offered to withdraw her review on TripAvisor (and other review sites) if the motel agreed to stop pursuing the unpaid accommodation bill. The motel complained to the police claiming harassment and initiated a Disputes Tribunal hearing that they ended up "winning." The review remains on TripAdvisor.

In October this year another guest, Donna Elsworth from Hawke's Bay posted the following review on TripAdvisor after her stay at the same Rotorua motel:
In a bizarre twist of fate, Elsworth has claimed to have received abusive emails from six different anonymous TripAdvisor users after posting the review. Comments included: "better watch your back" and others calling her a "dirty cow", "low life queen" and a "stupid woman". One of the emails also said: "What a horrible thing to say about this fine motel."

A rattled Elsworth has laid a complaint with police.

It is interesting to contemplate why six different TripAdvisor users would have gone out of their way to abuse the writer of a mildly unflattering review?

As an aside, we have been following  the exploits of the "Motelier Reviews" group on Facebook. The unknown disgruntled motelier behind the is group gives the following bio:
"This page is an open forum for property owners who are not allowed to freely express or raise serious concerns from the owners forum inside of Trip Advisor.
Trip Advisor do not give real true reviews as they claim.
Property owners are threatened and blackmailed and when Trip Advisor are given proof of this they will not co-operate.
Property owners are not permitted to express themselves inside the owners forum of Trip Advisor.
Trip Advisor have no management or customer service in place to address these serious issues and illegal practices regarding reviews
Time for rebellion I say Trip Advisor is illegal and their guidelines suc."
We can conclude that the person behind "Motelier Reviews" seems to have some issues with TripAdvisor along with other review sites. We are amused that they have suggested a cunning plan to counter negative reviews:
"At Check In when guests sign the register have a clause which states......

I/We take full responsibility for any damage to the unit incurred by us during our stay. Writing a Review on the internet of this hotel will incur a $250 charge to my/our credit.

....We wonder if there is some connection between the folk behind "Motelier Reviews" and the Herald on Sunday story ?

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