TripAdvisor accuses TV star and hotel owner of intimidating hotel guests

High profile Dragons Den star and entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne was labelled a bully today by user review giant TripAdvisor, as the row between the pair intensified.

bannatyne TA tweet

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.

bannatyne TA tweet1

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.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  5. Alla Dolce Vita

    Probably Mr Bannatyne’s action has been a bit too aggressive, but the problem is relevant.
    Expedia-Tripadvisor is NOT the court where hotelliers have to be judged and punished!
    Even if there would be a chance to offer a platform to better help travellers to avoid to be chated, the RULES of this “supposed great” system have to be clear and equal to all.
    …but unfortunately Expedia-Tripadvisor DOES NOT respect RULES of fair competition and editor industry.
    I look forward of what will happen…
    Sunny greetings
    Alla Dolce Vita

  6. Chris Parkin

    With the ending of the Hotel Star Rating scheme (UK Sunday Times 23 Jan 2011) if we have to rely on Tripadvisor, as suggested by the Tourism Minster, to enable holiday decision making we could be in for trouble and a long haul.

    • Phil

      I agree with Chris, it’s a big mistake if VisitEngland end the hotel star rating scheme. I think it’s just a money saving exercise.

      VisitScotland shows TA reviews in its hotel listings but only for a minority of properties – not sure if it’s because the others have no TA reviews or because they are allowed to opt out. But they have retained their proper, professional and independent “star” ratings.

      I don’t think Mr Bannatyne’s campaign is good for other aggrieved owners who have been the victim of malicious reviews – his response has been too aggressive and he does not come out of it in a good light.


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