Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Carlton Hotel Group urged staff to write positive TripAdvisor reviews

One of Ireland's largest hotel chains planned a campaign involving its own employees who were instructed to write false reviews on TripAdvisor. Communications found by The Irish Times show that the Carlton Hotel Group sent an email to at least 29 employees in the summer of 2010 to create a “a more pro-active management of the reviews on Trip Advisor” and that a plan had been agreed which would see managers nominate five people from each of the groups ten hotels to post fake reviews.

A memo from the Carlton Group's sales and marketing head Jean O'Connell said that 150 'TripAdvisor Posters' would be contacted by a senior member of staff and would be told which hotel they were to review and that 'by pooling TA posters it will give better flexibility and IP addresses will be from across the country.'

General managers of the hotels were also asked to nominate someone 'to take a minimum of 30 photographs that reflect the excellent product you have and key USPs you want to get across. Not professional photos but good quality from a digital camera is fine.'

When contacted about the allegations Jean O'Connell confirmed that she had sent the email but that it was only a proposal and that then policy was never implemented.

Trip Advisor's head of communications Emma Shaw said that a “full and detailed investigation” was under way and the company had “a zero tolerance approach” to such activity.