Faking hotel reviews

By | Category: Travel rumblings

annoyed and moaning

© Dan Sperrin

It has been a week since a public relations man at a multinational hotel group was caught faking reviews on various websites. Why have I waited so long to comment? Because I wanted to see what reaction there would be in the travel press.

The background is that Peter Hook, a PR man working in Accor’s office in Sydney had posted over 100 reviews on different websites in the past. Of his company’s own properties, his reviews were positive. Not so were his comments on rivals. He has admitted writing the reviews and Accor have suspended him which was the only thing they could do given their business might suffer. After all their hotels include brands like Sofitel, Ibis, Novotel and Mercure. Accor says they knew nothing of these activities and says that Hook’s actions are against company policy.

The scam/ fraud – you choose the word – was spotted by KwikChex which has developed quite a reputation for hounding out what it considers are fake reviews.

TripAdvisor has removed Hook’s reviews which were written using the name “Tavare” and other review sites will be scanning their records.
Generally the travel industry attitude was critical of Hook. But one person has lauded his standing and queried whether Accor knew of this. Another pointed out that one group had a notice on their bulletin board saying that money would be paid to anyone posting a review about the group. More than a few were surprised that anyone should be surprised that this sort of skullduggery (my word) goes on.
A few weeks ago we pointed out how companies have sprung up to deliberately place good reviews. The efforts of Mr Hook only confirm that we – as travellers – should remain sceptical about all these sites.

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