The hotel industry is to urge the EU Commission to rethink the rules on online hotel reviews after a TripAdvisor list of the 10 "dirtiest" hotels in the UK sparked anger among hoteliers.
Hotels that featured in the list claimed they had already seen cancellations and were concerned about the effect the list would have on their reputation.
British Hospitality Association (BHA) chief executive Bob Cotton said the issue of online reviews was raised during the most recent meeting of European hospitality associations in Barcelona, with industry leaders hoping that the rest of Europe would adopt the same standards of authentication that were in force in Germany.
He told Caterer: "I am not opposed to people saying what they think about a place but reviews should at least be based on having stayed there rather than being made up. It is a genuine concern from the trade that if someone has made up comments, either maliciously, or if they are a competitor, it is not good for business."
However Cotton said he was not concerned about the publication of a list of the "dirtiest" hotels provided they were based on genuine reviews.
And John Brennan, chief executive of Jurys Inn hotels, defended online reviews. "We support any medium, such as user-generated websites like TripAdvisor, which give the customer a voice. If a hotel has a good reputation both online and offline, and consistently meets customer expectations, then a false review is likely to be dismissed by today's internet-savvy customer," he said.
But the manager of the seventh-placed Blair Victoria & Tudor Inn hotel in London, Mr Patel, told Caterer that the TripAdvisor reviews were "not fair at all", and that the reviews of his hotel related to only its seven "basic" rooms and not to any of its other 62 rooms.
Meanwhile, Munaaf Patel, manager of the ninth-placed Radnor Bayswater Hotel in London, said he was concerned by the ranking as he had only recently taken the hotel over. "We saw that there were some changes to be made and we are doing that," he said.
A spokeswoman for TripAdvisor defended its rankings, which it said were calculated using a special algorithm based on its "Popularity Index" and specific attributes of the property. "We believe our more than 30 million reviews and opinions are authentic, honest and unbiased, from real travellers, which is why we enjoy tremendous user loyalty," she said.
The top 10 dirtiest hotels in the UK (based on TripAdvisor traveller reviews):
- Grosvenor Hotel, Albert Road, Blackpool
- Park Hotel, London
- Boston Court Hotel, London
- Cromwell Crown, London
- Corbigoe Hotel, London
- Earls Court Gardens Hotel, London
- Blair Victoria & Tudor Inn hotel, London
- Minster Hotel, York
- Radnor Bayswater Hotel, London
- Hanover Hotel, London
By Neil Gerrard
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