Hotel owners being blackmailed with negative Tripadvisor reviews for freebies



Hotel owners in Britain are being targeted by guests who 'blackmailing' them with demands for free meals and rooms in exchange for not writing bad reviews on Tripadvisor.

According to the Daily Mail, restaurant, hotel and B&B owners across the UK have reported a rise in the number of customers using the review site as a threat, saying they will post bad comments if the don't get upgrades, free food or better service.

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said he is in talks with Trip Advisor to improve the service.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: "People threatening restaurants and hotels with bad TripAdvisor reviews to extort free things is a problem which has been growing.

"People will either attempt to blackmail during the meal, or sometimes, more worryingly, people who have not even been to the restaurant will post a bad review to try and get a free meal, or a free stay in a hotel's case.

Mr Savage said: "TripAdvisor is essential to business owners because it's probably the first place people check to see if a restaurant's good or not.

"While it can be difficult to prove that somebody has blackmailed you, we would advise that business owners do not respond - or make free offers - to reviewers they suspect are malicious.

"Instead, take the matter to TripAdvisor, as they do work hard to keep malicious and inaccurate reviews off the site. And if you're still having problems - get in touch with us."

Indeed, Tripadvisor actually has a page dedicated to the problem to help hotel owners, called 'Reporting Potential Blackmail to Tripadvisor'.

It says: "We hear from owners that potential "blackmail" – when a guest threatens to write a negative review unless a demand for a refund, upgrade or other request is met – is an occasional concern.

"We now have a way for you to proactively report these threats more easily, before a corresponding review is potentially submitted. Immediate reporting of blackmail threats can supplement our investigative procedure and help us keep blackmail reviews from ever reaching the site."

The best hotels in the UK (according to Tripadvisor)

The best hotels in the UK (according to Tripadvisor)

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