Business reviews are a key part of Google local listings; they are also a great way for people to see what people think of your business. However you should be aware that not everyone is going to like you and no matter how much effort you put in to please them you will still get a few negative reviews.
It’s just about how you manage them here at Marketing the Change we suggest responding to them and using a negative situation to show that you care. However a recent news story hit the headlines that got our attention.
Union Street Guest House in Hudson were obviously very worried about getting negative online reviews on yelp because to avoid any bad reviews being left they are charging couples who book rooms for their weddings $500 for every bad review their guests publish online.
On the sites events and weddings page it read (it has now been removed):
“Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not. If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event […] and given us a deposit of any kind […] there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review […] placed on any Internet site by anyone in your party.”
Any deposit would only be refunded when negative comment were removed but it seems that the plan has backfired as social media sites got hold of the stories. A huge wave of either negative comment or joke positive comment are being left and are currently up to 787 reviews averaging 1 ½ stars.
The positive comments included:
“The beds were very comfortable which is why I had to take pain killers for back pain the next morning. The breakfast was delicious and the hours of vomiting I experienced for the rest of the day must be unrelated”
“Everything about this hotel was great. Although, I forgot to give the bellhop a tip so they charged me $200. The staff was nice and polite and its a wonderful area.. but they did charge me $150 for wearing my sandals with socks, which I COMPLETELY understand. I was rushing and figured it wasn’t a big deal. Come to think of it I was charged for a lot of extras
– Ordering movies from my room. $15
– Food service. $25
– Being left handed. $300
– Speaking when not spoken to. $450
– Having a sensible chuckle. $150
and because I have a long name they charged me an extra $600 ’cause it took them longer to input my name into the computer.
Above all great hotel/service!”
The negative comments seem to go on for ever they comprise of people complaining about the hotels policy or just general poor service.
The hotel (USGH) published a post on their Facebook page that has also taken a lot of abuse:
“The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced.”
However there are a number of reviews that claim that this policy has been enforced:
Yelps has responded to the ongoing situation this month with the following:
“For ten years (this month), Yelp has provided a platform for people to exercise free speech and warn consumers about bad business behavior such as this. Yelp fights to protect free speech for consumers and against efforts to intimidate or stifle it. Trying to prevent your customers from talking about their experiences is bad policy and, in this case, likely unenforceable anyway.
We encourage people to share their first-hand experiences; reviews that are contributed as a result of media attention and do not reflect first-hand experiences run counter to Yelp’s Terms of Service and will be removed from the site.”
From this story I hope you can see how important you online reputation is to your business I can see this hotel getting any more sales or leads online for a long time unless yelp steps in a clears up their profile. At Marketing the Change we offer a number of services that can help you improve your online reputation call or email us to find out how.