I missed Attack Of The Trip Advisors on ITV1 on Monday night because I was enjoying the oikish squabbles of The Junior Apprentice, but seeing it listed reminded me of a review I recently found on the omnipresent travel site which I thought quite spectacular. I'll get to it in a minute, but from a read of the show's reviews, it seems that Attack Of The Trip Advisors got stuck into the thorny subject of bogus reviews, which some hotel owners are claiming is killing their business.
You can well imagine why: it's all too easy for rival lodgings up the road to post something derogatory about the state of the bathroom or make up some drivel about hairy croissants at the breakfast table. But I reckon we're missing the point: the more the credibility of TripAdvisor's reviews is called into question, the more it gives genuinely hideous hotels a first-rate 'get out' clause. Yes, for that grim minority of properly nightmarish hoteliers, it must be the work of moments - should these Hoover-shy layabouts be bothered to get up from their flea-ridden mattresses - to add the words "Bogus review!" to any offending entries. "We have no record of your visit," they could plead, tittering quietly to themselves while sucking on another fag/kicking a cat. "We know who you are - the police have been contacted!"
Reading TripAdvisor reviews is addictive, a sort of perverse adrenaline sport where you get the biggest rush from unearthing ever more stomach-churning horrors. In fact, you've got to hope that some of the reviews really are made up, because the alternative - that some poor, sunseeking sap has indeed gone through this - is almost too sad to bear. Take that review of the place I mentioned before:
"I would NEVER recommend this bed and breakfast to anyone! In fact, I would advise them against spending their hard earned money on this trashy place.
When we first arrived, for our 10th anniversary celebration, the owner was hooking up a sprinkler in the b&b yard for some children... whom we found out within a few minutes were living in the room beneath ours with their mother. (Not at all romantic to hear kids screaming in the room beneath you.) The owner proceeded to take us to our room where a huge dog faeces lay in front of the door. She scraped it off with a scraper and sent it flying into a post on the porch where she left it. Pubic hair in the Jacuzzi tub, dog hair when you pull the sheets back on the bed... old, broken down appliances sitting under the beach house... TRASHY, TRASHY!!! Please never let her talk you into having a wedding at this place!!! The main part of the house was even more filthy!!! I would have NEVER eaten ANYTHING cooked in that kitchen!!!"
I mean - wow! If you're anything like I me, you'll now be cutting and pasting bits of the above into Google to see where this place is. And, I imagine, making sure your next trans-global trip steers well clear. But I'm not so sure. It's got to be worth a visit, hasn't it? If the review is phoney, posted by a neighbour with a grudge about the size of her Leylandii, or by a decrepit downtown inn that is quietly going under, this little b&b could actually be a gem. And if not? Well, you could always make a complaint. Maybe somewhere online. There must be somewhere for things like this...
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