A small hotel in Hudson, NY thought it would be a great idea to threaten wedding couples with a $500 fee for any negative reviews posted by their wedding attendees. From the Page Six article:
A hotel in tony Hudson, NY, has found a novel way to keep negative reviews off Yelpand other sites — fine any grousing guests.
The Union Street Guest House, near Catskills estates built by the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers, charges couples who book weddings at the venue $500 for every bad review posted online by their guests.
“Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not,” reads an online policy. “If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event . . . and given us a deposit of any kind . . . there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review . . . placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.”
Ever watch someone under 30 book a hotel room? They fire up the internet and go to a site like expedia.com or hotels.com and do a search of the city they are traveling to. Then they narrow their choices to a handful of hotels that fit their budget. Then the fun really starts. People who have spent the last decade on the internet know how to get the most out of it. No 25 year old is going to trust that 4-star rating that Expedia gave your hotel. They don’t believe that your hotel was ‘hotel of the year’ for the last five years as stated on your website. They are going to see what actual people (well, internet people anyway) have to say.
Their decision to stay at your hotel starts with a quick review of your website. Does it have a pool? Check. Steakhouse? Got it. Gym? Ok. They take your hotel into consideration. But is it better than the hotel down the street that has similar rates?
A quick Google search will tell them what they need to know. They read the reviews on tripadvisor.com. Maybe they check out yelp.com or read your Yahoo Travel ratings. Oh, Mary from Iowa says your staff is rude and your food is lousy. Three people say that your hotel lost their reservations and two people say that they were overcharged during their stay.