Some of them can be very harsh (the most inventively furious are collected at the aptly named Tripadvisargh!) And so the site, which attracts more than 250 million visitors a month, encourages proprietors to respond to criticism.
For the most part this is done with polite placatory noises, or stock cut-and-paste excuses.
Others throw themselves into full rebuttal mode. As did one Scottish hotel owner, in response to a complaint of a “nightmare” stay, having been told upon arrival that the room they’d booked for Valentine’s Day was not available.
The owner of Crags Hotel bed and breakfast, whose theatrical style includes signing off his comments on the site “Basil” in a nod to Fawlty Towers, did not hold back in his reply (since deleted):
From henceforth I will remember Valentine’s as the miserable day that I had the misfortune to meet you, your husband and your friends from England! And the 16th Feb will now be called ‘Hatchet Sunday’ in memory of the review you left us.
I understand that you were angry with me … to arrive at a hotel and be told that you can’t have the room you booked is frustrating! I get that! That is why I gave you a free bottle of wine … and £15 off the room … and a free night’s stay in March!
(I was contemplating also throwing in a wee hug for you both … but I felt there might be health consequences!).
I have struggled to understand why you then felt the need to go on a drunken rant through the hotel, threatening customers and shouting abuse? (hmmmm)? …
My doctor has told me that I must control my anger levels… he has told me that I must visualise my anger as a wicked demon that lives in a deep dark pit, and there the demon must stay.
Instead of giving free reign to my anger, I have been attempting to be more understanding …
Do you know what… I think my empathy jet is flying on vapours!!! I think ‘Mr understanding guy’ has just been told to pack his bags and leave the building… escorted by the police.”
(I feel myself crumbling under the injustice of it all! My grip on reality is loosening… I am teetering on the edge of the great pit… and there, below, in the inky depths… lies… the demon!… he is coming
In conclusion you have ruined me! You have set my therapy back some six months … You have stripped me of my greatest strength. my compassion. I will be forever, a ‘Basil’.
Mind you, the guests may not after all have been blameless. According to the hotelier in question, Alex Scrivenor, “the guests were escorted out of his hotel in Callander, Perthshire by police who arrested the reviewer’s husband for threatening behaviour, criminal damage and breach of the peace”.
See also: Tripadvisargh – hotel nightmares