Some hoteliers who are constantly under attack from guests on review websites like TripAdvisor may get a little of their own back with a U.K. based website that will allow accommodation providers to blacklist undesirable guests.
According to Breaking Travel News, 10,000 small hotels, B&Bs, holiday rental agencies and campsites are expected to join the subscription-based GuestScan network, which will enable them to check whether a guest’s name is on the blacklist before they accept a booking.
The database is the brainchild of British businessman Neil Campbell, who came up with the idea after a neighbour who owned a B&B suffered a “visitor from hell.” The list is targeted at guests who trash rooms, leave without paying, steal things or make too much noise. Names will stay on the list for up to four years.
Under the U.K.’s Data Protection Act, guests will be told their name is on the blacklist and they will have a right of appeal. Accommodation providers must indemnify GuestScan against the consequences of malicious reporting. GuestScan is the first of its kind in the U.K., but a similar scheme called Guests Behaving Badly was launched in Australia in 2007.
How big a problem is the ugly hotel guest? Insurance company More Than says there have been three million cases of guest-related property damage at British hotels over the past five years.
This includes the theft of £5 million worth of bathrobes, 336,000 broken beds and 300,000 television sets destroyed.
In a somewhat related story, some 300 U.S. and U.K. hotels have expressed interest in joining a lawsuit against TripAdvisor, accusing the user-generated review site of defamation. Among the claims the proposed lawsuit aims to pursue is that TripAdvisor overstates the level of trust that can be placed in an individual review on their site, thus seeking to influence consumer opinion. The hoteliers also say that TripAdvisor fails to take appropriate action when offered evidence of falsehoods.
Responding to a story on the lawsuit posted at Gadling.com, one reader whose family owns a small hotel says they often feel at the mercy of guests looking to cause problems. “Many times we are blackmailed by visitors demanding rebates for unreasonable items after their stay under threat of (a) bad review. This is a trend that hurts many establishments around our town (with) severe consequences, and I am sure it is the case in other places.”