BHA to Take Hotel Review Sites to European Commission?
Earlier this month the British Hospitality Association announced that it was taking serious action against “anonymous reviews” and planning to present a case against TripAdvisor to the European Commission.
Bob Cotton, chief executive of the BHA, said that they were seeking to persuade the EU Commission to update the rules governing website reviews to ensure that they have been posted by genuine guests, and not by rivals or people out to cause mischief.
Hospitality industry leaders in Europe recently called for the rest of Europe to adopt the same levels of review authentication that are already in operation in Germany.
Mr Cotton said: “Websites have a responsibility that the person has actually stayed at the hotel or dined at the restaurant. I have been having discussions in Brussels on behalf of the industry so that some sort of common sense should prevail, as it does on sites such as eBay.” He added: “You can’t ban these on-line comments – that is like de-inventing the atomic bomb – and I am in favour of all these methods of modern communication. But we need a fair crack of the whip.”
He also said that he was aware of cases where owners had “smelt a rat”.
“It might be that someone has picked up some business from a competitor and the competitor wasn’t very happy and they put a whole series of comments saying how bad the visit was by the people who stayed at the hotel. It can really affect a business.”
Read more about Bob Cotton’s point of view on review sites on his BHA blog.
Since then, it has been announced that Bob Cotton will be succeeded by Ufi Ibrahim as Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association. Ms Ibrahim will succeed Bob Cotton on the 19 July 2010 and she joins the association from London-based World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The BHA on Twitter confirmed that Ms Ibrahim will be meeting shortly with TripAdvisor representatives.