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Hotel TerraVina has some thoughts on Review sites….

We have many guests who write to us directly both with compliments and criticisms- we answer them all personally as we believe if someone has taken the trouble to write they deserve a response. We get many people compliment us and the team in person or via our Guest Book and we get some who offer friendly advice, tips on how to run a hotel and constructive criticism, again in person or in writing. We also have some guests who prefer to post reviews about us on sites such as Trip Advisor. Personally, I am not overly keen on such sites, although we are very lucky and mostly receive lovely comments, but I realize they serve a purpose and give people the chance to be “arm chair critics”, but as they are gaining in popularity and more and more people post reviews on such sites, I thought I would explore the subject still further…….

Overall we are very fortunate to have great reviews written about us. Every now and then, like most hotels, we have one that is not quite so complimentary and we do of course take note of the criticisms and action comments where possible. We realize that not everyone will like what we do, that sometimes there are hiccups with people’s stays and that sometimes people just haven’t enjoyed themselves with us for whatever reason. We personally answer almost every comment that is posted on review sites (we mostly do so privately rather than posting an “all to see” management response) However, sometimes, (albeit rarely), I feel compelled to post a management response, to be viewed by all, if only to put across our side of the story, or to rectify mis reporting of facts and so here are some of my comments as a hotelier on reviews and reviewers.

Here we go!! I’m not ranting, just putting across an hotelier’s point of view…..

A reviewer recently wrote that their bedroom (they had seen our website and specifically requested the room) had scuff marks on the walls and skirting boards……. Our bedrooms are re-touched and re-painted on a monthly basis and more often as necessary. However when the hotel is busy, sometimes we have issues with the painters having access to the rooms and we have to postpone the redec for a couple of weeks. Often, NO SOONER than the room has been re-painted then the walls, skirting’s and door thresholds are damaged by guests bashing suitcases into them, scraping back chairs and general wear and tear of the room in a manner that guests would perhaps be more careful not to inflict on their own homes.

Our carpets are cleaned EVERY month (the first Monday of the month). Sometimes guests spill red wine, nail polish and coffee and tea, not only over the carpets but also up the walls, across the bed and over the mattresses. Often they don’t tell us, so the stain soaks in and is difficult, if not impossible to remove and thus there needs to be a replacement rather than a repair.

We have TV’s pulled off their wall brackets and gaping holes left in the walls. Roll top baths moved so that the pipes disconnect and when the next guest runs a bath and then lets it out the room (and the room below) is flooded, as the guest “forgot” to tell us that by moving the bath, the pipe disconnected (I know… WHY move the bath? But believe me it has happened). We have mini bar keys jammed into bedroom door locks instead of the twice as large room key and then keys broken inside the lock as people try to force their way into their rooms, we have door handles pulled off….. the list is endless and we as the hotelier have to grin and bear it, foot the bill for the damage and desperately try to have it all repaired and back as good as new before the next guests check in.

We had a recent comment that there was no smoked salmon at breakfast and why didn’t the staff tell them when they sat down…. Agreed, it is annoying to be tempted by a dish of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon only to be told at the time of ordering that the supplier has let us down and not delivered on time, (we place the order in good faith, but we cannot foresee drivers being delayed due to an accident on the motorway on their way here to deliver).

We have had people state in their review that we are very expensive and then report how much their bill was, but they don’t mention the fact that their actual bill was for example £215.00 for 3 course dinner, accommodation and full English breakfast, inclusive of VAT (for two people sharing) and that the grand total was so much higher due to them choosing a very nice bottle of wine, cocktails in the bar, drinks from the mini bar and various other incidentals… instead they merely note the final figure, which is I think somewhat misleading, as we truly believe that our dinner, bed and breakfast offers are great value- what the guests spend thereafter is very much up to them, but all the major spends, (room and food) are already accounted for within the package rate.

Our staff are only human, they are not robots- they arrive at work with family conflicts, relationship hiccups, childcare worries, financial woes and all sorts of other day to day problems that we ALL encounter on their minds- they put their woes behind them, they smile and try to be as friendly and professional as possible, but sometimes they make mistakes- humans do… we ALL do… aren’t the people who post criticisms on review sites infallible sometimes? Don’t they make mistakes in their jobs, don’t their actions cause disappointment and annoyance on occasion- of course they do, but there probably isn’t a public forum for them to be criticised, have nasty (sometimes) and personal comments made about them (thankfully not a case with our own reviews, but not uncommon on review sites) and comments that can badly effect a small business.

Constructive comments are welcomed, but people often don’t understand other people’s industries and when they criticize without seeing the bigger picture it is disappointing and actually can have a very adverse effect on the business, staff morale and team spirit- thus as a hotelier we are not expecting people to only write nice comments about us, or to stop using review sites, all we wish for is that people are perhaps more aware that hotels are run and staffed by people with feelings, we are not machines. We and our team, like many hoteliers, care passionately about what we do and want to do it well, but don’t shoot us when sometimes it goes slightly lopsided- there may be a reason that is slightly out of our control and a little bit of tolerance goes a long way.

In the interest of balance, and in review sites’ defense, there are many people who find Trip Advisor to be a useful tool in helping them decide on places to stay. Some guests go to great lengths to ensure they report an accurate account of their stay, which can be both helpful for other guests and can help hoteliers to improve their business. However, Trip Advisor has come under much scrutiny and criticism from many in the industry. It has been widely alleged that on occasion, not all of the accounts of a guest’s stay are factually correct and even though Trip Advisor keenly point out that hoteliers have the right to reply, this is often a less than ideal way to respond as it opens up a war of words which just allows for even further comment and mis reporting of facts.

Whilst such sites as Trip Advisor continue to gain popularity with the general public, they should be used to the hotel’s advantage with hoteliers posting photos and information onto the site to help guests when they are trying to

choose where to stay, but these sites need to be managed and monitored very carefully in order that they remain a positive asset to the hotel and not detrimental to the business in anyway….. For my part, I am not a fan and don’t think I ever will be, but we recognize that they are well used by the public and so we “play ball” and tolerate them.

I suspect the debate within the industry as to whether such review sites are helpful or a hindrance will run and run and it’s an interesting topic to debate.

In the meantime many thanks to all those guests who comment in a factually correct, constructive and often kind manner about their stays, by whatever forum

Till next week


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14 Responses to Hotel TerraVina has some thoughts on Review sites….

  1. Sarah Marsh says:

    i work in the NHS where complaining is a way of life. There are sometimes when it is very important and life threatening but equally times when it is just nit picking. We also receive a huge number of positive comments on the quality of service we provide. For me this offsets the nit picking criticism which we tend to focus our resources on. We love your hotel. We have always had an amazing experience every time we have been including a tour of your wine cellar. The warmth of service is second to none as is the quality of the facilities. Lfe is a balance and my guess would be your positive comments far outweigh the negative so celebrate your strengths, learn from the negatives but don’t dwell on them. Thank you Terrivina


    • Hello Sarah

      Many thanks for your kind comments- you are absolutely right, it is all about balance. We are thrilled to receive so many positive comments about the place, but the negative ones do effect the morale of the team. However, you are spot on when you say we should celebrate the positives.

      We are thrilled you love TerraVina and hope to welcome you back again very soon

      Kindest wishes

      Nina, Gerard, Suzi and all the team x


  2. Matthew Watts says:

    Brilliant!! I have been in catering and hospitality in its many forms for 17 years and think what you have written here is absolutely correct! Cheers for having the courage ro put out there what we all think and yet the public seems to fail to understand. Keep up the good work at TerraVina!


    • Thank you Matthew- I greatly appreciate your support and kind comments. So many hoteliers feel the same way and I am glad to have voiced an opinion that is shared by so many.

      Thank you again.



  3. Richard says:

    Nina – very well presented and it wasn’t a rant!! I use TripAdisor: as a guide and for information and photo’s of the property, but I do try to read between the lines. I also look at the total number of reviews and the number of reviews in each category, I also note how old they are and what time of year the stay was (not always the same time as the review was placed) and also the profile of the reviewer. I also look at the hotel’s website. I fully appreciate hotelier’s view as clearly some reviews have an hidden agenda. I get annoyed/frustrated with some reviews I have read about places I know so how the owner feels heaven knows! (Sometimes “get a life” comes to mind!)Generally I find TA useful but as most things in life – Caveat Emptor. In the past I have posted reviews (all good)on TA. In one review I did include a slight criticism re the wine available (of course!) but emailed a copy of the review to the restaurant a day before posting the otherwise very positive review – I didn’t get a reply – but I would return to the restaurant!

    Keep up the good work!



  4. Hello Richard

    Many thanks for your very valid comments- I completely agree that there is a use to TA and the like, it is just that the people who run TA don’t police it properly enough- and some (a minority but even so) of the people who post reviews do so with an unpleasant, aggresive, factually incorrect and sometimes abusive manner.
    I think your idea of posting a review but sending it to the restaurant in question beforehand is a very fair and open way to use such sites- if only more peole were as sensible as you.

    Great to see you on Sunday.

    Love to you both



  5. Well done Nina! Bet you feel better now!
    We have a similar gripe with customers who feel they are better at table plans than us! As you are well aware,a great deal of thought goes into making the restaurant best seat bookings,taking into account every single booking, and the working and look of the room.After all these years in the industry, we still get groups turn up who wish to have a go themselves..always thinking they know better. on occassion we let them try…only to prove them wrong.


  6. Hello Karen

    Hope you are well and business is good- thanks for your comments. I completely agree, it doesn’t seem to matter that we all have 100’s of years of experience as to tables plans, timings etc… some guests think they know better and that they can fit x10 people on a table for x6!

    Hope to see you soon




  7. Dearest Nina
    Gosh well done you! I could not have put it better myself! You have spoken for all of us and those that dare to venture in to the world of hotels, restaurents and bed and breakfasts.
    Why are people sooo horrid on occassions…..I find it most bazaar thatthe clients complaining refuse at the time to communicate their dissatifaction with either the room, the staff or just their general over experience. We are expected to be mind readers and without a word being uttered apart from the fact that you have been told that they had a lovely time, up in your inbox pops…..’Review Alert’ to which your hearts jumps as to which client was it and will it be a true representation of your establishment or conversation stopper!
    I find it fascinating that people can bare face lie to your face then lone behold they have a bad day at the office, their business or just genernally what to be unpleasant because someone has upset them…. where do they head 3,4 or in one case 6 months after they stayed with you for a theropy session on Tripadvisor to beat up some poor hotel or bed and breakfast!Unbeleivable behaviour really! We have many super reviews the few that are horrid in the main have been posted long sfter the client stayed which if it was so unsuitable why did they just not check out?
    Well done Nina for sticking up for us all we need you,fantastic written word, just what we want, thank you,
    Liese xxx


  8. Hi Liese

    Thank you for your vote of support- it’s greatly appreciated.




  9. Interesting to read another hotel professional’s point of view.

    Tho think that all is part of our hospitality responsibility and we Professional must deal with it all to minimize negative and maximize positives so our guests will have the most Pleasurefying stay.

    TA & other review sites are most useful to both our guests and we Hospitality Professionals!

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa, Luxury Collection, Starwood
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Professional Website:
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790 evenings
    LinkedIn Profile:


  10. Dear Olga

    Mmmmmm, TA needs to be very carefully managed and I don’t completely agree that it is such a fantastic marketing tool- I also feel that TA should better “police” reviews and act more swiftly and in some cases fairly when hoteliers have cause fo concern and complaint about a review- it is a hot topic and one that causes much comment that’s for sure!



  11. Scam says:

    Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your feed and I hope you write again soon!


  12. Thank you for yuor comments. I am glad that you enjoy my blog and hope that you continue reading it.

    Kind regards



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