The BHA is the active voice of the hospitality and tourism industry regarding online reviews and encourages:
- fair business practices by online review platforms;
- continually improving measures to implement stringent security and verification measures to stamp-out black-mail, fraudulent and malicious reviews;
- all parties have recourse and constructive access to swiftly remove black-mail, fraudulent and malicious reviews;
- fair, open and functional use of technology to attract customers and improve the offering to guests
Policy and Legal Director at the British Hospitality Association said: “User reviews, on the whole, are tremendously useful. We all know how great it feels to be commended for hard work and how helpful constructive criticism can be. The issue of user review platforms is that a small few do misuse these sites to leave untrue, malicious or black-mail reviews. It may be a small few, but every review has a huge impact on the millions of prospective customers who use online reviews to guide their decision every day.
“Online review sites have tremendous market power as they are often the sole information source for potential customers. No one wishes to have their decision guided by a fake review, businesses do not want to face inaccurate claims on their hard work, and review sites do not want to be seen as inaccurate information sources. Therefore basic safeguards to stop misuse has to be put in place to ensure that these sites work as well as they can for consumers and for businesses."
The BHA will be making a robust and evidence-based submission to the CMA on this topic and asks all hospitality businesses for their feedback and experiences to ensure their voices are heard by Government. Feedback can be submitted by completing a short survey.