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Blackmail – The Hobby that pays…or not?

Today’s post is on a more serious matter and somewhat shows the other side of our jobs (luckily only a very very very small fraction of it!).



Usually, hotels, serviced apartments & co. like to share the great experiences they witness with guests and not the negative ones. Luckily, the great memories also outweigh the bad ones, however, we think it’s important to get into detail with this specific topic: 


Blackmailing hotels by threatening with bad reviews!



I think there is not one property, which has operated for some time, that has not experienced this.



A guest, who was clearly provided with all necessary information about the specifications of the property beforehand, checks in and then comes up with a series of unreasonable complaints and expects an upgrade or any other kind of freebee or otherwise threatens to leave bad reviews on Booking.com & Co.



Recently we were confronted with such a case and saw it as necessary to share our views and reaction here, in order to show that although we are certainly trying to do everything in our power to make our guests feel welcome and comfortable, there are certainly some ground rules which we will follow, in order to keep our integrity.



In this specific case, a guest, who was previously informed that our rooms face the street, arrived, stayed one night and gave a major complaint saying that he did not know the room was going to face the street. We certainly tried to assign another room in the same category to the guest, but did not have any other room available to the yard-side of the building, due to the very high occupancy rate.



Therefore, we offered the guest to cancel the second night free of charge and to even help him to find another hotel, more suitable for his needs. However, the guest declined.



Our second solution was a paid upgrade to the next higher category, but for a highly reduced price (more than 25% reduction). 



The guest chose this option and we arranged the move right away.



He stayed for the second night and during the checkout we asked him if everything was good and if he enjoyed his stay and he clearly answered this question with “YES”.



The case was now closed for us.



A few days passed…



And we received the following email (in German): 



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(In order to protect the privacy of the guest, we censored the private details of the person)



To summarize in English: The guest wrote that he spent his worst night ever in our property. He further mentioned that he could not sleep at all during the first night, due to the noise from the street and that the heating did not turn off. He said that because of this, he had swollen eyes on the next day. The guest then mentioned that we offered him a paid upgrade for 68€ to a suite with terrace and that he noticed in the evening that the neighbors smoked on the next terrace, which caused the smoke coming to his room. He said further that he slept with closed window and that the heater was able to turn off, but he still had swollen eyes on the next day because of allergic reactions coming from the fabrics of our furniture and carpet. The guest further mentioned that there was not enough equipment in the kitchenette in order to prepare breakfast and that he expects a compensation offer from us in oder to repress the aweful memory. 



We would like to emphasize again on the fact that we already mentioned on the information-site of booking.com that all available rooms are facing the street and that we also informed the guest again, prior to arrival, about this fact.



Certainly, each guest can share their subjective opinions with others. Everyone is different, has different preferences and perceptions, however we have the strong opinion that guest reviews should not be used as a method to blackmail service providers in order to receive freebees.



In our opinion, the best way to receive the best possible experience, direct feedback is still the preferred method, since it lies also in our interest to make up for any possible mistakes right away. Since we asked the guest upon checkout if everything was fine after the room change and he answered with “YES” we could even more, not understand the following written complaint.



In conclusion: we believe that hotels, serviced apartments and any other service providers should definitely do their upmost possible to make sure their clients enjoy their service to the maximum, however, as every human is different, it will never be possible to satisfy everyone’s needs completely. We generally have a very high guest satisfaction rate (8.5 out of 10 on Booking.com), but still the reviews vary from 3.5 to 10. Certainly, we made some mistakes (that’s humane), but we also admit them and try our best to make up for them right away.



Therefore, and even more because of this, reviews should not depend on whether you can get something for free.



Thank you for reading this. If you have any further thoughts on this topic, we would be happy if you shared them with us, since we believe it is a very sensitive, yet current topic, which deserves to be talked about, in order to keep our integrity as service providers!



Cheers, Sabrina