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Managing review blackmail

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Review Blackmail

Social media has given customers new powers, and that is overall a good thing. But some customers try to make unreasonable demands and hold hotels hostage by threatening negative reviews. The threat of a negative review in today’s environment is quite significant. So what should employees do to protect hotel reputation when faced with a negative review threat?

Such behavior does not warrant a “reward” and hotel management is not powerless to deal with review blackmail.

 Dealing with review blackmail

As far as TripAdvisor is concerned, TripAdvisor has recently introduced a new feature which alerts hotels of blackmail before or after such a review is posted.  The definition of review blackmail which it uses is “when a guest threatens the management to post a negative review unless demands like refunds and upgrades are fulfilled”. TripAdvisor disallows such activity.

Also when hotel management receives such threats they should log a report on TripAdvisor as soon as possible. This report can be entered by logging into the management center.

This is what you can do after the incident has taken place. What should you do when you are facing the threat of a bad review, meaning that the bad review has not been posted yet?

How to handle a bad review threat

Stay calm. Treat the threat seriously but do not allow it to overwhelm you. Handle the review threat like any other guest complaint. Stay professional and offer the disgruntled guest possible options. In short do everything within reasonable limits to find a solution and diffuse this situation.

If the situation demands you acknowledge the review threat tell the guests you would prefer a negative review is not written and ask them how hotel management can help them to resolve this. If demands like lower charges come up tell them you cannot do that but mention what are liberty to do for them.