TripAdvisor accuses TV star and hotel owner of intimidating hotel guests
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’s 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’s 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.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.