Fake web review pitch riles owner

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 14:57 14/02/2014
Chris Birks
Derek Flynn

Seeking fairness: Hotel d’Urville owner Chris Birks thinks it’s disappointing some businesses might use fake reviews to boost their TripAdvisor profile

Related Links

Do hotels pay attention to online reviews? My travel advice? Read the reviews

Relevant offers

Travel Troubles

Planes were trying to leave and land as the air traffic controller slept the day away Sunwing Airlines pilot found passed out in cockpit pleads guilty to being impaired Plane's propeller found in Australian bushland after falling off mid-flight All 49 passengers, crew survive 'miraculous' crash landing in South Sudan Bird strike forces Virgin Australia flight to turn back to Christchurch Bodyboarder bitten on the bottom by shark Inside the cockpit: Pilot shakes as 737 hit by turbulance Man arrested smuggling thousands of beetles, spiders, scorpions from Australia Auckland Airport shoots runaway security dog after it delays morning flights Alexander Kimerov removed from flight because of his height

Businesses are being offered a fake Trip Advisor review service, where they can pay for positive ratings.

Hotel d'Urville owner Chris Birks received an email last week from a service called TripAdvisor Reviews offering "excellent" scores to make his online profile stand out from competitors in Blenheim.

The service cost $97 for six reviews, $197 for 13 reviews, and $297 for 20 reviews.

Trip Advisor is a website where members of the public can review accommodation, restaurants and tourism attractions, and read reviews that others have written.

TripAdvisor is investigating the offers of fake reviews.

The Tourism Industry Association issued a media release yesterday warning New Zealand tourism operators against the service.

The release said businesses around the country had been sent the email and it was unclear whether the email originated from New Zealand or elsewhere.

 Birks said TripAdvisor had become a popular tool for people choosing where to eat or stay. Many customers of Hotel d'Urville, a restaurant and hotel on Queen St, used TripAdvisor.

"It wields a lot of power," he said.

"It's a bit disappointing when you work so hard to do well, and someone undermines it."

The restaurant, which is ranked number 10 out of 77 in Blenheim, has 4.5 stars out of five and 129 reviews.

Birks said the online profile occasionally got a mediocre review, which was fair enough if it was justified.

Fake TripAdvisor reviews was cheating but there was not a lot anyone could do about it, he said.

"It's out of our control, all we can do is maintain our profile," he said.

Tourism Industry Association New Zealand chief executive Martin Snedden strongly advised against buying fake reviews.

TripAdvisor was investigating the email, Sneddon said.

It was vital that travellers in New Zealand could trust TripAdvisor's reviews, he said. "We suggest they [travellers] should check a range of reviews and websites, as well as seeking advice from the likes of i-Site visitor information centres."

Ad Feedback

- The Marlborough Express

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content