A Lesson for the Wise: Faking It Doesn’t Pay!

Online reviews can be one of the best marketing tools for your business – but only if they are authentic. Unfortunately, stories of business using fake reviews to boost their online visibility on portals like TripAdvisor or Google are becoming more and more frequent. Recently, there it has an increased stigma against and since today, there is even more reason for it – it has been ruled as illegal in Italy.

The Verdict

The owner of marketing agency PromoSalento located in the Italian city of Lecce, was sentenced to 9 months in prison, along with an 8,000€ fine for selling fake reviews to customers on TripAdvisor.
The TripAdvisor team have always invested heavily in the identification and removal of fake reviews. Since 2015, TripAdvisor have successfully block over 60 companies across the world selling fake reviews. Despite this, the portal is not alone in these efforts, as shown by the strong stance exhibited by the Italian authorities.

Consequences for Hoteliers

The investigations related to this case had been under way for some time and had allowed for TripAdvisor to identify repeated efforts by PromoSalento to post fake reviews. In these instances, TripAdvisor penalised the associated the accounts of hoteliers who utilised this service and informed users of the attempted fraudulent activities to manipulate their reviews.

So how should you get more positive reviews?

It’s simply not necessary to buy fake reviews. Not only do you end up in uncomfortable situations with guest (and now, the authorities!) but it’s can only be a short-term strategy before it unravels. Key is to activate the silent mass of satisfied guests who are more than willing to leave their opinion of their stay – if asked to do so!

What do we think about the verdict?

Customer Alliance applaud TripAdvisor and the Italian authorities in taking a strong stance against the fraudulent manipulation of reviews, like that undertaken by PromoSalento. Whilst it may be tempting for business owners to polish their online reviews, trying to turn a blind eye to existing issues in your business – which may lead to negative reviews – isn’t a long-term strategy and will only result in guests not returning and telling all their friends to stay away. Which ultimately lead to higher marketing costs and lower profits.

There is no better marketing than a happy customer. So instead of trying to “fake” happy customers, it’s much better to listen to the genuine feedback received from real guests and improve your business day-by-day. Not only will this bring in real satisfied guests, but they’ll tell all their friends and leave many more positive online reviews for your business.

Delivering great customer service is critical to any business, and in an increasingly digital world, so is the use of review management services to ensure that the real guest satisfaction is shown to the world. The Customer Alliance solution allows your to collect authentic feedback from real guests in an effective and automated manner, in order to share their opinion on portals such as TripAdvisor but also on your website.

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