Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’
As most of you know, the advent of the online guest review has made a big impact on our industry. Some days, as our board chairman says in today’s press release, it feels like the “Wild West.” Innkeepers are fearful of the impact of negative reviews, and at the same time enjoy the glow of positive reviews. Many inns, which had been heretofore hidden gems, might now be discovered on account of online guest reviews.
Our industry has been accused of being a place where fraudulent review-posting is more likely to happen than in the hotel market. PAII’s own keynote speaker at our conference suggested innkeepers leave positive reviews of their own properties, which was a shock to us as well. Innkeepers complain to us about how TripAdvisor ignores the needs of our industry. There are features and policies within the review sites that may or may not meet the needs of innkeepers, our guests and the industry at-large.
In the midst of what sometimes feels like chaos, the PAII Board of Directors felt it necessary to offer a public statement on the ethics and use of online reviews. I believe the press release and position statement explain how we are feeling, as well as provide some guidance on the matter. You should look to PAII as a both resource and voice for innkeepers. In that light, I encourage you to give us your opinions, stories, grievances, at-a-boys, etc. We want to hear from you, so that we can continue to be a valuable resource, as well as carry your message to those that have a big impact on our industry. Leave your comments on this blog, or the PAII Member Forum. The press release and statement are below.
Thank you for allowing us to serve and lead,
Tags: Ethics, Online Reviews, PAII
Posted in Online Reviews | 6 Comments »
Here’s what happened. A ballroom full of innkeepers has gathered. It’s the first morning of the PAII conference. Our keynote speaker, Daniel Levine, is speaking about five social trends that are impacting our businesses. It’s a fresh, forward-thinking message. Then he drops a bomb on the audience.
Levine was talking about the social trend he calls, “Transparency Tyranny.” In brief, it has to do with the phenomenon of consumer-generated content on the internet. In our world of innkeeping, that mostly means online reviews, ala TripAdvisor, BedandBreakfast.com, etc. He gave a few other examples of how Web 2.0 is taking over the internet. One funny, but scary, example was www.rottenneighbor.com, where one can “Locate, Rate and Share Good and Bad Neighbors Before and After You Move.” In the context of this Web 2.0 discussion – and here’s the bomb – Levine suggested to innkeepers that they should essentially “game” the TripAdvisor system by leaving your own reviews of your own properties. In fact, he even suggests innkeepers should leave multiple reviews from different IP addresses or servers, so that TripAdvisor doesn’t catch you leaving multiple reviews. If you didn’t know, that breaks the rules TripAdvisor sets for innkeepers and hoteliers.
Personally, I was appalled. I looked around and wondered if everyone else heard what I had just heard. I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to stand up in the crowd and stop Levine during his presentation, but maybe I should have. The advice he offered was way off base. A few innkeepers walked out during his presentation. I was concerned that he lost all credibility at that moment, and that his main message was going to be lost.
The very next morning at the second general session of the conference, I delivered a formal rebuttal to Levine’s suggestion. I told the gathered innkeepers that PAII neither condones nor endorses what our speaker suggested. I shared my belief that it is perfectly ok to invite your guests to submit reviews of their experience, but within the bounds of good ethics. Apparently I struck a chord, because my comments were met with much applause. It was reassuring to see that the innkeeping community is by-and-large an ethical group of people. Furthermore, the conference was buzzing in the hallways and classrooms with this issue. Again, it was good to see that innkeepers care about doing the right thing and responded with shock to Levine’s comments.
Tags: Ethics, Online Reviews
Posted in Online Reviews | 17 Comments »