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TripAdvisor accused of hosting 27,000 fake or defamatory reviews – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

31 January 2011 by
TripAdvisor accused of hosting 27,000 fake or defamatory reviews – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

TripAdvisor accused of hosting 27,000 fake or defamatory reviews TripAdvisor, the world's biggest travel review website, has been accused of hosting thousands of fake, dishonest or defamatory hotel and restaurant reviews by rogue reviewers, competitors and disgruntled ex-employees. "Our estimate is that there are at least 27,000 legally defamatory comments on TripAdvisor, allegations that are false and should if necessary be tested in court," said Chris Emmins, founder of online reputation management company Kwikchex, which is planning a group legal action on behalf of 800 hotels and restaurants. "We also estimate there are several million reviews that are out of date by more than 18 months and more than 100,000 businesses listed on the site that are closed, some for many years." TripAdvisor, which gets up to 40 million hits a month, insisted that it investigated all suspicious reviews.- 30 January
Read thefull articlein the Sunday Express >>

River Cottage staff shocked by young chef's suicide
Read thefull articlein the Daily Mail >>

Ferran AdriÁ outlines plans for El Bulli Foundation Three-Michelin-starred Spanish chef Ferran AdriÁ has outlined his plans for transforming his world-famous El Bulli restaurant into the El Bulli Foundation. Speaking at the Madrid Fusion 9th International Summit of Gastronomy, AdriÁ explained how El Bulli would close on 30 July to begin its conversion into a creative, culinary laboratory. It will reopen in 2014 with teams of 15 people - including chefs, engineers, journalists and artists - chosen from online applications who will study alongside AdriÁ for seasons of brainstorming, reviews of technical processes and testing out new ideas. Their work will be posted online, along with the 1,800 recipes already developed by El Bulli. - 30 January
Read thefull articlein the Sunday Telegraph >>

Britannia Hotel Group buys Pontins The Manchester-based Britannia Hotel Group has bought holiday camp firm Pontins, which fell into administration last November owing £47.6m to more than 1,000 creditors. The sales price was not revealed, but it has been reported that offers below £90m would not be considered in the second round of bidding. Administrator KMPG received 10 offers for the group, which was founded in 1946 and ran 31 camps in its heyday. The acquisition saves 850 jobs at the five remaining Pontins camps, which continued to trade as KPMG sought a buyer. Britannia owns 36 hotels including Liverpool's Adelphi and the Grand in Llandudno. - 29 January
Read thefull articlein the Daily Express >>

Chinese government seeks 37% stake in Maybourne The Chinese government has tabled a surprise bid for a 37% stake in the Maybourne Hotel Group, which owns the Berkeley, Claridge's and Connaught hotels in London. The move follows the acquisition of a 25% stake in the group earlier this month by Ritz hotel owners the Barclay brothers. Both the Chinese government and Qatar Holdings - who submitted bids in excess of £1b for the whole group before Christmas - were said to be furious at not being informed of the sale. Derek Quinlan, who owns one third of Maybourne, is believed to be in talks with all three parties about selling his stake. Maybourne has also been in talks with Northwood Investors and Westbrook Partners in the past year in its quest for new equity ahead of a debt refinancing deadline. - 30 January
Read thefull articlein the Mail on Sunday >>

Travelodge quits Tri survey in latest row with Premier Inn Budget hotel operator Travelodge has quit providing its performance data to Tri Hospitality Consulting's benchmarking market surveys in its latest spat with rival Premier Inn, which has condemned its move as "childish". Travelodge, which has switched to rival company STR Global, claimed Premier Inn was providing only selective data that showed it in a better light to the Tri system, thus distorting the snapshot of the budget market. Premier Inn has denied playing with the figures and regretted Travelodge's decision to pull out of Tri "as those figures gave the best picture of the market." Andrew Sangster, editor of Hotel Analyst, suggested that Travelodge had shot itself in the foot as it would now be very hard for anyone to get a true picture of the sector. - 30 January
Read thefull articlein the Mail on Sunday >>

Dyslexic chef blamed for food hygiene breaches in Welsh hotel A luxury hotel in Wales has been fined £6,750 for hygiene breaches that included infestations of flies attracted by mouldy, out-of-date food that was attributed to a dyslexic chef who could not read the use-by-dates. The Victorian Gothic Mellington Hall hotel near Church Stoke in Powys was closed for deep cleaning following an inspection last July, but a return visit this month found more hygiene breaches. The defence for the owners, Lancy and Vanessa Thomas, said in mitigation that they had pleaded guilty immediately and co-operated fully in dealing with the breaches. New staff training and food safety procedures have been introduced and a colour-coded system adopted to help the unnamed chef identify food that is going off. - 29 January
Read thefull articlein the Daily Mail >>

By Angela Frewin

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