The ability to leave an online review to a potential audience of tens of thousands has become an empowering tool for consumers to applaud or complain about a company or service. However, a dark side is emerging.
New research has revealed that British holidaymakers regularly threaten writing bad reviews to get a discount, upgrade or freebie while on holiday.
More than a quarter of recipients questioned admitted to exaggerating about a bad experience on holiday or even telling an outright lie such as “there was a hair in my food” to get a discount or free meal.
The study involved 2,510 people aged 18 and over from around the UK answering questions about holidays abroad taken during the past 12 months.
When asked, “Which of the following, if any, have you previously done on a holiday abroad to get what you want/benefit in some way?“ the top five most common answers selected were as follows:
- Lied about/exaggerated a bad experience – 23%
- Being over-generous with tips/tipping when told not to – 19%
- Threatened to leave a bad online review – 13%
- Refusing to pay a bill – 10%
- Lied about a special occasion (birthday/honeymoon/anniversary) – 8%
When asked who had been on the receiving end of their lies, threats or refusal to pay on holiday, restaurant staff (65%) was the most common answer, followed by hotel receptionists (21%) and housekeeping staff (18%).
Anyone who had lied or exaggerated about a bad experience were then asked to specify what they had done. The most common answer amongst these respondents was “lying about a hair in my food” (31%), followed by “lying about the cleanliness of my room” (22%) and “lying about noise disturbances” (14%). 9% had also lied about developing food poisoning on holiday.
When asked what they had hoped to achieve through their lies or threats, 47% of the respondents said it was to “save money/get a discount” and 38% said it was to “receive some kind of upgrade”. Asked if they were successful 51% said “yes”.
Chris Clarkson, Managing Director of the online travel agency Sunshine, who commissioned the survey said:
“These survey findings have made me feel incredibly sorry for hotel and restaurant staff working in holiday resorts abroad. We’re clearly a demanding bunch of visitors who will go out of our way to get what we want from our holiday.
“Threatening bad reviews is clearly one of the top tools in Britons’ bargaining arsenal. Hotels and restaurant rely a lot on good reviews only to drive custom and bookings, so it’s easy to see why threatening a bad review would make them bend over backwards to accommodate a customer’s request.”
What would/did you do to get a discount or freebie? Leave a comment