February 01, 2012

Hotel group staff urged to write positive web reviews

One of Ireland's largest hotel chains planned a campaign involving “a bank” of people aimed at generating false positive reviews on the influential TripAdvisor website. Trip Advisor said a “full and detailed investigation” was under way and the company had “a zero tolerance approach” to such activity.

Internal communication seen by The Irish Times indicates that the Carlton Hotel Group encouraged dozens of employees and other nominees to post positive reviews of the chain’s 10 hotels to TripAdvisor.

According to the email, sent to at least 29 employees in the summer of 2010 and copied to the hotel group’s directors, the group wanted “a more pro-active management of the reviews on Trip Advisor” and it said a plan had been agreed which would see managers nominate five people from each hotel to post fake reviews.

The mail, sent by the group’s sales and marketing head Jean O’Connell, said 150 “TripAdvisor Posters” would be contacted by senior hotel staff and told which hotel they were to review and given a timeframe in which to post. “By pooling TA posters it will give better flexibility and IP addresses will be from across the country,” the memo said.

Get the full story at the Irish Times