Online reviews site TripAdvisor has launched a new tool for hospitality operators to report potential ‘blackmail' from guests.
The move is in response to concerns by hoteliers and restaurateurs that some guests threaten to write a negative review unless a demand for a refund, upgrade, or other request is met.
"Allegations of blackmail or threatening behaviour by guests against property owners are taken very seriously by TripAdvisor," a spokesperson for the company said.
"Not only is it strictly against our guidelines, but it may also be illegal in many jurisdictions. If an owner experiences this, we urge them to contact us immediately."
TripAdvisor's new tool allows operators to proactively report these threats before a corresponding review is submitted.
Immediate reporting of blackmail threats, via the management centre, can supplement TripAdvisor's investigative procedure and help keep blackmail reviews from ever reaching the site, the company said.
Best practices for submitting reports of potential blackmail to TripAdvisor are as follows:
• Instruct employees to share any guest blackmail threats immediately.
• Submit a potential blackmail review report as soon as possible via the Management Centre:
• Select "Manage your reviews"
• Click the link under "Dispute a review"
• Complete the form and confirm that the issue "Report blackmail" is selected
• Provide the month and year of the guest's stay, an email address and/or a name and as many details as possible about the incident.
• Retain as much documentation relating to the report as you can including emails, voicemails, etc.
• For more information, check out this guide.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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