Managers of The Rees Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand, first became aware something was amiss in January when a customer cancelled a reservation citing bad reviews on Travelocity, one of the world's biggest online travel agents.
The hotel's chief executive, Mark Rose, went online and discovered five extremely negative reviews, all of which were written before the hotel opened in 2009.
"At first, I couldn't work out what was going on as one of them referred to the fact that they had been promised non-smoking rooms but ended up in the smoking section, which I thought was strange because we're a non-smoking hotel," he says. "Then I saw that the reviews were written in 2008, before we opened."
He contacted Travelocity and was told the reviews were actually about America's Best Value Inn in Midland, Texas, but had been assigned inadvertently to the five-star The Rees instead. The posts were taken down and now there's a disclaimer on The Rees's Travelocity site explaining that the reviews previously posted on the site were not about the hotel.
It is cold comfort for Rose, who feels the mistake has affected business. "We are a big place - 90 apartments and 60 hotel rooms with a Michelin-starred chef," he says. "We get lots of business from other channels but that kind of mistake would be disastrous for a small operator."
Travelocity declined to comment.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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