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BizReport : Research archives : July 11, 2016

Travelers threaten bad reviews to get discounts, upgrades

Travelers are holding travel firms to ransom with threats of bad reviews, often exaggerations of the truth, according to new research on a UK-based online travel agency.

by Helen Leggatt

New research from UK-based online travel agency,, reads like an episode of South Park - the one in which Cartman threats restaurants with a bad review if they don't give him free food.'s survey of more than 2,500 travelers found that 13% had got down and dirty and attempted to bribe a travel brand by threatening a bad review. The main reason travelers threatened a bad review was to get a discount or save money (47%) followed by getting an upgrade (38%).

Another 23% admitted to lying or exaggerating a bad experience to get some form of discount or benefit. One in 10 had refused to pay a bill and 8% pretended it was a special occasion such as an anniversary, birthday or honeymoon. More than half (51%) said their dishonesty had paid off.

The most common lie was not a particularly original one ("there was a hair in my food"), yet 31% admitted to this ploy. Almost a quarter (22%) lied about the cleanliness of their room, 14% said they had lied about noise disturbances and 9% even lied about developing food poisoning on holiday.

"Threatening bad reviews is clearly one of the top tools in Britons' bargaining arsenal," said managing direector Chris Clarkson. "Hotels and restaurant rely a lot on good reviews only to drive custom and bookings, so it's easy to see why threatening a bad review would make them bend over backwards to accommodate a customer's request."

Restaurant staff were the most likely to be in the firing line (65%), found the survey, as were hotel reception staff (21%) and those in the housekeeping team (18%).

Tags: reviews, survey, travel, UK

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