Social media is making headlines in the travel world today, whether it’s my colleague Anita Potter’s wall-to-wall coverage of Cruisecriticgate, or my recent observations about the growing influence of travel bloggers. Both of these stories raise an interesting question: What happens when the travelers who wield new-media power are wrong?
I had to think about that after hearing from Ed Stumpf, a hotel industry veteran who now runs the Mohala Ke Ola B&B.
Spend a day at the front desk, and you will see legitimate complaints where people deserve compensation for the inconvenience they have suffered. Likewise, you will see scammers. They know the squeaky wheel gets all of the attention.
How do guests with bad intentions leverage social media to questionable ends?
In my bed and breakfast experience I can tell you how one squeaky wheel caused the cancellation of multiple reservations through her deceptive on line storytelling.
A guest wrote on line about having an unacceptable curfew at my home and being treated as a young child. She wrote with humor that made even me laugh. What she did not reveal in her story was how pushy she was right from the start. She entered the house, loved the place, spoke effusively about how great it was then demanded a discount because they had booked two rooms for three nights. Three nights is our minimum, but she was so pushy I actually gave in.
Each night they drank and smoke outside on the pool deck and became quite rowdy. They had been partying for a week to celebrate a family wedding. They invited outside guests over to party, and were totally inconsiderate of the other guests staying in the B&B.
They accused me of lying and said no one else was staying there. They didn’t like my explanation that we live in a residential area on a valley that echoes. They did not like the idea that we have a 10 p.m. quiet hour rule. Previously they had stayed at a beachfront vacation rental where they partied all night.
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