Anonymous Reviews

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    Kathleen Davenhall

    Hello Malcolm - we have had several anonymous reviews that gave us 100% in the last 6 months so it is possible - it may be that some guests do not wish recognition or  publicity which can be world wide with booking.com

    Submitted by Kath Davenhall

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    Holidae House

    We have to agree with Malcolm. While we also agree with Kath - we also receive many anonymous 100% reviews - we also receive anonymous reviews that are not 100%. As Malcolm points out, how does this help? So you were cold, a legitimate complaint and one we want to address. Was the radiator set too low, was the wind chill -35 degrees, was it a freak cold night in early October? If we don't know when you were here we cannot address your concerns. And if you are leaving a negative comment we assume you WANT us to address your concern. Kath makes a good point that people may not want to be identified to the world, but if that is the case let them send a private email to the owner/manager. We fail to see a sufficient amount of benefit that justifies anonymous reviews.

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    Colin Whittaker

    I agree with Malcolm but would also go further in not allowing customers to give negative star ratings without explaining why. 

    We have had on one occasion a comfort rating of 7.5, but with no explanation of what the issue was how does this help? Most other guests have given a 10-star rating so there isn't even a pattern for issues with negative comfort issues so no idea what the issue was.

     

    I would also like to make a note that I feel that Booking.com customers have more negative reviews that other well-known companies customers, so what type of customers are you attracting Booking.com?

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    Stephen Cresswell

    I believe if you are not prepared to give your identity, if not to the general public than at least to the proprietors then you should not have the right to go public to the entire world.  I say this after receiving many 10's from customers so it's not sour grapes just a principal I believe in.

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    Kathleen Davenhall

    Hello Colin - Just to let you know we have experience of other holiday letting agencies since 1994 - the reviews from the other agencies were much fewer than booking.com although the comments were about the same the review score was on the whole lower than booking.com. 

    The higher review score is important to us and it definitely influences  customers  looking to book

    The guests  with other agencies were only from the UK whilst booking.com attracts overseas guests so increasing the occupancy

    So we know for a fact that booking.com has huge strength in the tourist business that cannot be found in other agencies

    Regards Kath

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    Ron Hunter

    Hello all

    Yes, we support the move to remove anonymous reviews without comment as an option.

    Yes, we have had a number of 10's written anonymously without comment, including one received overnight.  However, we have also received them with a score of around 5, and they are unhelpful and quite frustrating to someone that only wants to be responsive and helpful.

    These reviews are of no value whatsoever to the people that count - the author we cannot apologise too or compensate, potential future guests we cannot protect from the same problem, and nor are they of any value to the property that is left completely in the dark. 

    We have no idea why booking.com can consider them being in any way beneficial, but hopefully this is being read by the right people to move us forward positively.

    Rgds, Ron

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    malcolm craig

    Thanks to all of you that have agreed that anonymous reviews benefit no one. Certainly they can't help a property improve. 

    Booking.com is proactive in its research and is in the forefront with on line visibility, However it is slow to react to any type of request to change things.

    Maybe next time we complete a survey that they keep asking to complete at the end, were they say, "If you had 5 minutes with the General Manager, what would you say?"

    We should all ask that anonymous reviews be stopped. Regards Malcolm Craig 

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    Chris Scregg

    Yes removing the anonymous option will ultimately benefit guests as owners/managers may be able to take action, knowing the guest and therefore which room, servive or staff member may need attention.

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    Annie Brain

    I must add my voice to agree with Malcolm on all counts.    I have just started in this business and so far had very favourable ratings and reviews from, for the most part, wonderful guests.   I have had a couple of lower ratings which have left me in the dark and guessing what the problem was, resulting in quite a bit of worry.

    Booking.com have brought me a lot of business and guided me through the system so its hard to fault them, however on the anonymous option I do feel this needs to be stopped.    When you put a lot of effort into your business (I only have a couple of rooms) its important that the guests feel happy.

    I also agree with Stephen's comment, this is not sour grapes .......

     

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    christine

    Anon doesn't bother me as much as the fact that we cannot respond to a review if the guest didn't write any words.  It then doesn't show up as a review on their site.  I should at least be able to reply 'Thank you!"

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    John Collins

    I raised this concern with Booking.com earlier this week. An Anonymous Review does not provide constructive criticism to Hoteliers, it's just a worthless number that we are held accountable to. We aren't able to see when the anonymous Guest stayed so I can't tell which staff were working and need further training, we can't tell where they stayed so I don't know which room or area needs addressing, we don't have any information provided to grow and learn and adapt from the review, yet the review is there and we have to take note of it. 

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    Wayne Cahoon

    Did John Collins write my response? It states exactly what I was going to write.

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    Wayne Cahoon

    Did John Collins write my response? It states exactly what I was going to write.

    Whoops, I backed up my browser and seen that this post was not sent yet so I resent it. Low and behold it was already sent. Sorry for the duplication.... Wayne

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    Brooke
    Hi everyone,
     
    Great to see such a big conversation happening around guest reviews
     
    A few things I thought might be helpful to share with everyone. Booking.com gives guests the possibility to sign their review, to choose a nickname or to remain anonymous due to privacy protection. While we are legally bound to allow users to remain anonymous, we are looking into ways to make this feedback more actionable for you in the future.
     
    Thank you for all your great feedback, looking forward to seeing more posts! 
     
    -Brooke
     
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    Wayne Cahoon

    Brooke, You stated "legally bound to allow users to remain anonymous", great do that, BUT make it anonymous to other viewers of your website, NOT anonymous to us when we already have their name, address and credit card info on file is not right. Give us something we can use like the room #/name, the date they stayed, their booking or confirmation #.

    If you had spinach on your teeth wouldn't you want someone to tell you so you can correct the problem right then? Our would you prefer to get an anonymous message a week later that told you of the issue, but not when or where it happened? If you knew right away you could have done something immediately to correct the issue. Afterwards when you see the photos from that wedding with spinach on your teeth, how would you fell then? Timely corrections can solve a problem before it becomes a disaster.

    We just want the same courtesy you would want if we get caught with spinach on our teeth.

    Wayne

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    Ron Hunter

    Suggestion.  Remove the Anonymous option - there is no Law that says you have to offer that to our guests.  

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    Stephen Cresswell

    If guests want to stay anonymous to the public then that's fine but we proprietors should have the the facility of knowing.  If you sign up to other online review sites such as Trust Pilot, your name is published and quite right too.

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    malcolm craig

    I really want to respond to Brooke from the Communities Team. You mention in your comment about the importance of privacy protection for guests. 

    A simply statement by Booking.com on the review page stating, "If you want to remain Anonymous, that's fine, however, your review will only go to the property and will not be seen by the public.

    If you want your review published your review must show at least your first name plus your Booking number."  

    That covers the privacy act. 

    A booking number allows the property to identify and fix a problem, or to personally thank a reviewer for taking the time to do the review. 

    I further believe only published reviews, with a name and booking number, should count towards a properties review score. 

    Brooke, properties need protection as well as guests. 

    I received an email yesterday from another property, warning that a local real estate agent was writing poor reviews, scoring 2/10, on review sites about properties were the managers held their own real estate licenses,

    It was noticed because in one she mistakenly used her own name.

    When questioned she admitted to having never stayed at the property, but because the owner held a full license, he was potentially costing her sales. 

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    Adam Williams

    I'd settle for them ceasing to publish blatently libellous reviews.  We had a guy who gave us a 10/10 on our own check-in software when he arrived, then during the stay in conversation described everything as "fantastic".

    Then his bike got stolen from NEAR the premises because he didn't chain it up.  Of course that's all our fault isn't it, and despite bending over backwards to try and help him, we got a 2.5/10 review on booking.com (Anonymous of course).  So evidently the theft of the bike somehow affected the cleanliness and facilities of our premises?

    Booking.com wouldn't remove the review, despite being able to prove it was false, and the actual incident was completely out of our control.  And it took them over a week to publish my response to his review (luckily he left some comments so I could actually respond!) whereas his initial review was up in minutes after the final conversation I had with him.

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    Wayne Cahoon

    I wrote a response to Brooke a day ago and it hasn't been published yet, however, many more have sent their responses in and I see they're published. Why is this?

     

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    Brooke

    Sorry about the Wayne, there was a glitch in the system. 

    Thanks for your comments here on the Partner Forum, we really appreciate your advice and feedback.

    Looking forward to more posts from you, 

    -Brooke

     

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    Alisue

    Online presence in this industry is "everything" reviews can either make or break a business!

    If a person is not prepared to put their name to a review, comments or otherwise - perfect score or not, then they should not be eligible to have their review published. 

    There is a simple solution to the problem and the privacy act should not looked at as a barrier of prevention but rather a hurdle to the problem.

     

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    Apartment St Julians

    Definitely agree with all that is being said above. Anonymous reviews should not be allowed (booking.com can always make only booking number or other generic details visible to others to protect their privacy as others suggested) and definitely allow the property to always be able to reply to the review.

    May I add another suggestion, I think it is high time that booking.com distinguish listings of small, private properties and guest houses, from that of big hotels, even with regards to review metrics available - why should I be reviewed on 'Staff' when my self-catering apartment is not staffed? I am always in contact with my guests and ready to help with anything or solve any issues, so when I get low scores on Staff its only because there is no reception desk at the property (they even write it as a negative comment sometimes so am quite sure about this). It should actually be clearly displayed on all listings whether there is reception or not, so that guests can opt out of booking accommodations that only offer remote (albeit more personal) support. Another metric I find misleading for smaller properties is 'Facilities' which I suspect some guests understand as being restaurants, spas, gym, and other facilities available only in hotels.

    @Adam Williams may I ask what kind of check - in software you use, and if it helps you identify any issues in time to be able to rectify any problems and make your guests happy ? I always ask if everything is OK on their arrival but they will not always say if anything is bothering them.

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    Adam Williams

    @Apartment St Julians I don't know if I'm allowed to mention specific products here, but the forum rules don't seem to prohibit it, so...

    We use a small tablet device from a company called YourWelcome.  It gives them info about the local area, a directory of services such as restaurants nearby etc and you can add extra services like airport pickup and late checkout.  You can also add video guides to it, which is really useful for apartments where you probably have a range of appliances people aren't used to using.

    Guests can also check in on it, which is handy for any property with a self check-in process as you know when people are arriving.  They can rate you out of 5 for their first impressions, and add notes and images to support their rating.

    Most people give us 5/5, in which case we give them a night to settle in and then get in touch with them the next day anyway just to confirm everything's OK and see if they need anything, which is always appreciated.  One person gave us 3/5 and complained of an issue with the bed linen.  This was picked up immediately by someone on my customer service team who contacted the guest straight away and got housekeeping to go out and resolve the issue within about 10 minutes.  In the end they were impressed by the response they got late in the evening and it turned a potentially poor experience into a positive.

    Well worth it in my opinion but the key is placement of the tablet.  We see way more interaction with it in locations where we can display it prominently in the hallway so they see it as soon as they arrive.

    Just to be clear btw I don't work for YourWelcome and am not affiliated with them in any way other than the fact that we use them in all our apartments.

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    Paul Chatwin

    Another of my favourite topics (lol)

    Some of you may have seen myself and my hotel in the National (and International) Press 2 weeks ago. Despite it being given the usual "Basil Fawlty" headline the overwhelming majority backed my opinion on false reviews and the need for a fairer system. The number of emails and offers for radio and TV was insane.

    The problem with every review website is that they are not FAIR.

    ALL reviews should remain private for 7 days as this allows the business time to monitor reviews across different platforms and to formulate a response (or complaint).

    When that 7 days has elapsed, both the review and response should be made public together.

    IF the property wishes to object to the review content, the review and complaint should be kept private until a decision has been made by the platform.

    IF the property is not happy with the decision, there should be an INDEPENDENT review system - and the property should pay £50 to go down that route - with the platform refunding the property if the complaint is accepted.

    NO review should be published without the property being able to identify the author - perhaps the booking ref can be used instead of "anonymous".

    What I am now finding is reviewers are getting clever. They leave an anon review but dont put any text description so the property cannot reply. BUT they now put their complaint in the title instead - example "There was evidence of mice in room" or "Owner swore at me and charged me twice" etc.
    .

    .

    .

    .

    THEN there are the reviews on the platforms which do have a response.

    Many platforms dont show the property response and you have to click to see it (if the option exists) - that isnt exactly fair is it.

    I just had a look at my mixed bag of reviews on booking.com

    It would be great if someone could actually explain this..........

    Last 10 Review in Extranet

    7.5

    6.7

    10.0

    10.0

    9.6

    5.8

    8.3

    7.5

    8.3

    5.0

    BUT if you look at the last 10 in one section of our public page they are;

    9.2

    8.3

    8.3

    9.2

    8.3

    9.2

    7.5

    9.2

    And in another part of the public page;

    6.7

    5.8

    5.0

    7.9

    10.0

    5.8

    5.4

    7.1

     

    HOW THE HELL can they list our most recent 10 reviews and get them all so wrong on the same platform?

     

     

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    Lilydale Z

    Reading everything written about anonymous reviews, I told myself "my thoughts EXACTLY." Booking.com should really do something about them. If they are keen enough to protect reviewers privacy, they should equally be keen to protect our businesses from the ill effects of anonymous reviews. Personally, if your concerns are legitimate and not just because you were pissed off you have to be charged for the additional guests you did not include in your original booking, why go anonymous. And as mentioned by one of the comments, let them be anonymous from public viewers but not from us so we could deal with their concerns.

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    Wayne Cahoon

    Adam Williams wrote "We use a small tablet device from a company called YourWelcome." Adam can you give the web address for that company? YourWelcome is too general for the search engines to list this company.

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    Lynkerr

    I agree we should be able to review the guests and they should not have the choice to be anonymous - and should write why they have chosen the ratings they have listed.

    The same room will go from 5 to 10 one day apart; setup exactly the same - this makes no sense and you cannot improve if you don't know which room they are referring to.

    Airbnb allows you to rate your guest and to say if you would recommend them to other hosts - why can booking.com do the same?

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    Apartment St Julians

    @Adam Williams thank you so much for the detailed information. I really appreciate as technologies like this are quite new to me - I am still contemplating whether to get a channel manager even though I now have 4 apartments and a 5-room guesthouse lol ;) I can see this working especially with the guest house with self check-in, where guests seem to be most bothered by the fact that there is no reception - even though I am available 24/7 by phone or in person if required.

    @Paul Chawton I notice that mostly the good review scores are shown when searching the properties, so maybe it is a booking.com strategy to display properties in the best possible light? (or maybe this is just wishful thinking on my side lol, but I do believe that booking.com's main aim is to drive sales to properties (and ultimately themselves) although more inclined to protect guests. Yes I have also noticed that property's responses to reviews are not immediately visible, and you need to click on them to read them, which I guess many do not.

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    Adam Williams

    @Wayne Cahoon It's the first 3 results in Google when you search "YourWelcome".

    Here you go:  http://www.yourwelcome.com

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