Bannatyne has become a figurehead in recent weeks for the anti-TripAdvisor movement after going to the mainstream media with a complaint over what he calls a “dishonest” review against his Charlton House Hotel in the UK county of Somerset.
The fitness club owner, author and hotelier is considering legal action (not unlike the Kwikchex threat) against TripAdvisor, accusing the site of bullying him in correspondence but refusing to speak directly when trying to remove the review.
The company is a “cowardly” organisation, he says.
But in a brutal verbal assault of its own, TripAdvisor has hit back hard today with claims that the celebrity’s hotels have bullied guests – an action which is in contrast to its mantra of giving consumers the “right of free speech”.
“In the case of Mr Bannatyne‚Äôs hotels we have had several worrying examples of individuals being intimidated by Mr Bannatyne and his hotel representatives.
TripAdvisor has also gone so far to claim that Bannatyne used his Twitter account (250,000+ followers) to retweet the personal mobile number and email address of a reviewer.
The official continues:
“TripAdvisor has a zero tolerance approach on bullying as we defend the freedom of speech, hence why we duly sent a letter to the Bannatyne‚Äôs Charlton House Spa Hotel manager stating that we do not condone this behaviour.
“We also take fraud very seriously and will investigate these occasions thoroughly and unverified reviews can be removed from the site, as has been the case with reviews on Bannatyne hotels.”
In a series of tweets with this author, Bannatyne says he “never had an issue with ‘bad’ reviews only deliberately dishonest review posted to extort money from operators”.
He claims that the guest at the centre of the story (the details of which he retweeted) worked for a marketing company, advising hotels.]
When asked if he felt justified in disclosing such personal details, Bannatyne says: “Clearly. Expose extortionists every time. Good use of Twitter.”
Suzie Warner has not responded to requests for comment.