Hotelier's review mix-up row
A hotelier claims his establishment's reputation is being tarnished by traveller reviews meant for another hotel with the same name.
Adrian Smirthwaite’s Albany Hotel on Albert Road, Blackpool, has a rating of five out of five on Trip Advisor – but he says his site has attracted negative reviews meant for the Albany Hotel on Clifton Drive which has a rating of just two out of five.
Now Trip Advisor has agreed to remove seven disputed reviews from Mr Smirthwaite’s site .
He said: “People are getting mixed up and they are putting their bad reviews of the other Albany hotel onto my site.
“It happened last year and is happening again this year.
“But when I have raised it with Trip Advisor it can take them five weeks to take the reviews down.
“It affects my business because if people see a bad review they won’t book and every booking can be worth £200 or £300.
“We are thinking of changing the name of the hotel but that would cost about £5,000 changing all the signs and our literature.”
A spokeswoman for Trip Advisor said 10 reviews had been disputed by Mr Smirthwaite and seven were removed.
She said: “While such an occurrence is rare, if an owner believes a review posted on their property was intended for a different establishment they can report it to us and our content team will investigate.
“As part of that investigation, we will contact the reviewer in question and ask them to confirm that their review was submitted to the correct property.
“If no confirmation is received from the reviewer, we take action to remove the review.
“This process has led to the removal of a number of reviews from the property page of The Albany.”
The spokeswoman added the process can take time but needs to be fair to both the owner and reviewer.
Dr Adnan Fultan, whose family owns the Albany Hotel on Clifton Drive, said he was surprised reviewers were getting confused between the hotels.
He said: “The hotels are in quite different locations and have different websites.
“Trip Advisor is an unregulated site and anyone can write on it. People who have had a positive experience tend not to comment.
“The people who put reviews on our site reflect the minority. I would say they are less than 0.1 per cent of the people we have accommodated.
“We have a number of hotels in Blackpool, and take 5,000 to 10,000 reservations a year, so we are bringing a lot of footfall to Blackpool.”