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From your feedback | Anonymous reviews

Since launching the forum, we have seen lots of discussions and ideas around anonymous reviews. Especially reviews left without a comment.

Based on privacy laws, we are legally obliged to allow the customers to be anonymous, but we definitely see that reviews without comments makes the reviews less (or not at all) actionable for you. We have therefore started making changes to try to discourage guests from being anonymous and leaving no comment.

Since December, through different initiatives, we have decreased the average percentage of anonymous reviews by 63% and anonymous reviews with no comment by around 70%.

Here’s what else we are doing:

  1. We are testing with asking the customers to keep anonymity on the website, but still share their info with the property they stayed with
  2. We are working on experimenting with more ways to encourage customers to provide more useful information in their reviews

Still have questions? Comment below, and we will share your questions and thoughts with our Guest reviews team.

31 Replies

5
monet208

This is very encouraging as a start
But since guests cannot leave an anonymous review why cannot you go all the way since you will gain a lot of respect from providers and a lot less criticism!

1 year ago
1
Ychernin

Review not supposed to be anonymous, some guest not happy with something and blame staff and rooms, provided lie . This unfear, and rview department doing nothing to remove it, as result partners and booking.com suffered losses.

1 year ago
5
monet208

Why is booking.com not putting in their terms and conditions that proven lies will be removed?????
In our case the guest booked a room with a private bathroom and then put in thecreviee he booked an ensuite room
Booking.com knew the room he booked was not ensuite but would not remove his lie from the review!!!!!

1 year ago
1
Ronali

To be anonymous is one thing, to receive a review full of untruths is another. We've had both. I contacted B.com to express our concern, sadly nothing happened, and the review is still there for all to see. I wrote at least 3 times, but was told everyone had a right to express their opinions and that we shouldn't expect to have positive comments all the time. I agree wholeheartedly , but not when their comments are untrue, and when it affects our ratings, which we've worked so darn hard for.

1 year ago
5
monet208

If someone tells lies about you publically and they are printed it is called "defamation of character"

The law states "Defamation is generally defined as “communication of a false statement that harms another’s reputation

There have been many cases where this has happened to an individual or business who have then taken legal action- a solicitors letter does not cost much- against whoever has said and/or published that lie

1 year ago
1
Ronali

Thank you very much David, that's very reassuring.

1 year ago
1
Gary Bevan

After 3 consequent scores of 10, my property was given a 4 without comment. When I emailed the client for an explanation he explained it was because I was English and he would not have rented the property if he had known. I considered this racist and advised booking.com that I wanted the review removed including a copy of the email. Booking.com refused. With such overwhelming evidence put in front of you I still find it difficult to understand your refusal to remove this racist, biased review.

1 year ago
5
monet208

See my previous post of defamation

Publication of racist comments publically can be treated in the same way and is overseen by a Department in UK and other governements

1 year ago
1
Gary Bevan

Thank you David.

I was very upset that booking.com did not act, considering after some investigation I found out that the clients had spoken with them prior to the arrival date expressing concern that I was English.

1 year ago
1
Gary Bevan

In addition, my real concern was that if the client posts a low score but is too much of a coward to leave a comment, I cannot reply. This is very unfair.

1 year ago
5
Graham Fisher

Don't get too upset Gary, it is all part of being in this business.

It is better to work on the basis that there is no way on God's little earth that you will please everyone... and just occasionally they will satisfy their own mean spirit by doing this i.e. 2.5'ing you and refusing to explain.

Sadly it is simpler to forget and move on....

1 year ago
5
monet208

Brooke
What is the specific and exact law that says a guest can allow a anonymous review
Why are we refused the right to respond to every review?

1 year ago
5
Graham Fisher

Brooke - another option that one OTA used - was to allow each AP to delete three reviews in any twelve month period - their choice to remove one but ONLY three.

This allowed AP's to remove what they considered untrue/misleading reviews, but not in sufficient numbers to distort their overall score. AP's had to think long and hard before potentially "wasting" one of their precious three removals.

Perhaps worth considering?

1 year ago
5
monet208

It is breach of Human rights not to allow anyone to reply to comments made about them in the internet whether good or bad

It is part of your Human Rights to be allowed to respond to any public comment made about you

1 year ago
1
Jill Penny

It's so frustrating that a guest can write anything in their review and you as the host, who has gone the extra mile to make their stay fabulous, does not have the right to answer truthfully, but abide by the guidelines of booking.com, unfortunately the customer is NOT always right and is NOT always honest about their stay.

1 year ago
1
Jill Penny

I know Graham, I feel like Gary - I take a negative review personally - I need to get over myself :(

1 year ago
1
Ronali

Hello Jill, yes the same thing has happened to us. A review we received was full of untruths, with our guest of course being the victim here. Our cottage was left in a terrible state from bed linen, to furniture that had been damaged. The rating we received was so disappointing, and something we had worked so hard for over the years. We wrote 3 times explaining the situation but was told by Book.com that we shouldn't expect positive comments all the time. That we can accept, but not when a review is based on untruths.

1 year ago
5
Graham Fisher

Jill/Ronali - as I said, it is unfortunately a sad fact that there are a number of sad, bitter and untruthful people in this world, that get a twisted pleasure out of writing untruthful or misleading reviews - they take holidays! It hurts for the owner, but all one can do is pray for them - the good Lord may forgive them, even if we cannot - and harbouring the hurt will only make you defensive with the next set of guests.

I'm afraid the idea of three deletions of reviews per year, is the only one that I have seen work.... even two would be an improvement over the current situation.

1 year ago
1
Ronali

Thanks Graham, regardless of the review we received, we still get much pleasure and enjoyment in meeting so many lovely guests. Thank goodness the others are a minority.

1 year ago
5
Graham Fisher

One also has to remember that we owners can cause the problems as well - we had a very nice couple staying this weekend; but for some reason the hot water ran out (I still cannot figure out why!) as the wife wanted to take a bath.... a somewhat frosty complaint - "Why is there no hot water??!"

I suspect they may be too well mannered to put their name to a complaint, but I suspect a bad anonymous review may well be on its way.... hey ho!

1 year ago
1
Jill Penny

Good luck - on the flip side - we had a couple this weekend who so enjoyed their stay with us, She bought me a bunch of flowers to say thank you :)

1 year ago
1
Leandra

I just need to understand

There is everything done to protect the guest - their privacy, their reviews - where is the protection for the guesthouses?

If it was not for us going out of our way to accommodate guests not always living up to our expectations neither we or Bookings.com would suvive - we are all in business and at the end of the day to make a living by providing pleasurable memories for our guests - but the guesthouse owners can do nothing to protect ourselves!

So frankly where is the fairness in this?

1 year ago
5
Graham Fisher

Leandra - you are dealing with the public, you are being very optimistic if you expect fairness...

1 year ago
1
Lazar

Booking.com need to be careful allowing libelous reviews to be published, doing so implicates them as a 3rd party by law.

1 year ago
5
Graham Fisher

I wonder if UK solicitors do "no win, no fee" Libel cases...?? I'll bet they do not...

I also wonder if Bdc would claim they cannot trace an "Anonymous" review back to a customer... I'm sure that would be their excuse.

Sorry if I come over all cynical folks!

1 year ago
5
monet208

In UK law you cannot leave an anoymous review if it contains negative comments that will lose you business or is defamation of your character

A simple email to the guest pointing this out and that you will claim damages and your solicitors costs solves the issue 90% of the time

Brutal but it works

1 year ago
1
Lazar

I replied to the review with exactly the comments you suggested but Booking.com would not publish my reply.

1 year ago
5
monet208

Don’t bother to try it through the review since booking. Com won’t publish your comment
Send the email I suggested straight to the guest

1 year ago
5
Graham Fisher

Monet - what happens when the guests denies being the "Anonymous" reviewer - you may know everything lines up with a particular guest, but unless Bdc are willing to confirm it - all that is likely to happen is a nasty letter from Bdc telling you to stop threatening guests when the guest complain to Bdc and you have no proof it was them writing the review....

... and I'm sure Bdc have some way of dropping you down the rankings just to make their point.

Like I said, it is frustrating but all part of B&B life. Swallow the bile and move on is best.

1 year ago
5
monet208

Sorry completely disagree with your comments and if you are happy to operate your business and accepting published lies about your property then that's your choice

1 year ago
5
Graham Fisher

Not "happy" monet - resigned... and curiously I have had guests that told me they only "believed" the number of good reviews because a few critical/bad ones were also in the mix - nowt so queer as folk - as the local saying goes.

1 year ago