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September 11, 2012 / BSP Marketing

Fake Guest Reviews are Hurting Hotel Occupancy Rates

Getting an appetizing review for your recently opened French cafe can encourage diners to give your restaurant a try. The success or failure of a big Hollywood movie often depends upon the reviews of the critics. Over 75% of travelers say that the hotel they eventually choose depends, at least in part, on the travel reviews they read online.


According to an article entitled Hotel Reviews: Revenue Lost to Fake Hotel Reviews, published through Hotel-industry.com.uk and TripAdvisor, it is estimated that 10 percent of all hotel guest reviews are fake. Reviews that are not checked for being from actual guests who stayed at a hotel, are permeating many websites. While a few fake reviews may not seem like much, their impact can be great when a hotel only has a handful of overall guest reviews at a particular site.

Getting a bad review from a real guest is one thing. Getting a negative fake review is totally different. Conspiracy theorists would say that the competition has hired some independent writer to post bad reviews to downgrade your hotel. Others would say that there are just some individuals who like to be destructive. Whatever the reason, a bad, fake hotel guest review can damage a hotel’s reputation and result in a decrease in revenues.

In the Hotel-industry.co.uk and TripAdvisor article, 95 percent of potential customers said they would not stay at a hotel if they read negative reviews about the property or guest experience. On the other hand, companies that receive positive reviews as opposed to negative or no reviews, convert those reviews, to new business, at a rate of 183 percent.

Over in the U.K., they have an anti-defamation law that is supposed to protect companies from individuals who post fake and derogatory guest reviews. However, since many of the online travel sites are based in other parts of the world and it is difficult to prove intent, the law is not much of a deterrent against those who are up to no good.

Hotels should and must respond to negative guest reviews whether or not they are fake or just from a guest who actually had a legitimate problem with their stay. It is possible to lessen the impact of a negative review by apologizing and responding in a positive manner. Allowing the readers of reviews to see that management cares about their guests and responds to problems, will encourage potential customers to try your hotel.

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3 Comments

  1. Tabatha Seidl / Jan 9 2013 3:50 pm

    Hotel reviews can really affect the purchasing behavior of the consumers. If I will read bad or negative reviews about a hotel, I might not try it.

  2. John / Jan 12 2014 8:03 pm

    My little hotel got several bad mentions in TripAdvisor. One thing that struck me as odd at the time was the superfluous detail these people had inserted, added I guess, to make the review appear authentic.
    Some time later I started to get offers to improve my TripAdvisor rating…see how the scam works?. They write bad reviews, then (for a fee) write good ones.
    Now I just ignore TripAdvisor completely….

    • hmgmanagement / Jan 14 2014 12:15 am

      Dear John

      Thanks for your feedback!
      TripAdvisor is actually one of the most important things for your hotel.
      You can’t ignore TripAdvisor, you need to work with it. Respond even to the bad reviews, try to get the emails of those who post and send them positive notes.

      Hotel Managers Group

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