Clare Inn Hotel & Suites, one of the Lynch Hotel Group, has been given a “red badge” warning by TripAdvisor for reviews posted about it.
A TripAdvisor spokesperson said : “We have reasonable cause to believe the Clare Inn has engaged in suspect fake reviews on TripAdvisor. Subsequently, a red badge has been applied to the Clare Inn pages on the site, warning all potential guests of the suspected activity. We have completed a thorough investigation and removed the reviews.
“The Clare Inn is the only Lynch Hotel Group property to have received a red badge, although reviews have been removed from other hotels within the group.”
RTE Four Live broadcast details of the story yesterday, claiming a hotel employee emailed seven colleagues telling them to fake good customer reviews.
The email, dated October 4, said there was a need for good reviews as renovation work had just begun:
We have come up with a plan for everyone on this email only to post a review about their stay at the Clare Inn.
You must do this from your HOME PC or internet cafe, do not use a Lynch PC or the IP address will be picked up.
I’d rather you didn’t discuss this with your team. This is not something we would normally endorse but the reviews of the Clare Inn at the moment leave us with no choice.
Please do not use hotel language or else our plan will backfire.
The email also told staff to “praise value for money” at the hotel and that different TripAdvisor accounts had already been set up for the staff involved.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg – the problem of fake reviews on TripAdvisor goes way beyond this one hotel and its crass attempt at deception. We’ll have news soon on how many other properties have been “red flagged” in this way.