How to Destroy a Hotel’s Online Reputation in Under 24 Hours

While the Waldorf=Astoria Boca Raton Resort and Club isn’t really my personal style (I’ve never been a big fan of The Breakers, either) it certainly receives its share of plaudits and pulls high room rates in-season.

Last night the hotel reportedly kicked out a YouTube star proactively — on the fear that he would create a video prank on property — and he created a video criticizing the property for it. In under a day the video has received over 280,000 views.

Since the YouTube video went up last night over 650 one star reviews of this property have been posted to Yelp. It’s overall Yelp rating has dropped down to 1.5 stars.

Here are some of the reviews that have been posted:

Now these 600 some odd reviews don’t reflect actual stays on property however they do reflect the views that people hold of the property (even if they’re eventually removed).

I actually think that has some value, but it points to the larger issue of online reviews and star ratings: everyone’s views are equally weighted, and any given reviewer’s opinions may not match your own. You’ll always fine someone giving low marks to the Ritz-Carlton Central Park because room service breakfast there is expensive, and high marks to a Super8 because of free breakfast. That’s all well and good but may not be useful informing your decision of where to stay.

In general I find reviewer photos to be far more useful, as well as consistent themes in reviews across a longer period of time. I don’t take a hotel’s ranking as gospel, instead looking for concrete facts mentioned by several reviews (mold in the showers, broken this or that) to be useful in forming an overall picture of a property.

Credit: Boca Raton Resort and Club, a Waldorf=Astoria Resort

Reviewers haven’t hit the property on Tripadvisor, it is still listed at #5 out of 27 hotels in Boca Raton with 4 stars (and plenty of one star reviews as well). Angry YouTube commenters seem to prefer Yelp.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Most fake reviews come in batches. I skip these as they are easy to spot. A truly upset customer leaves a long review.

    I wonder if the OP is now liable in court and will have to pay for damages.

  2. Wait – so the “views” of internet trolls who have never stayed at the property, never will stay there, and never had any actual interest in staying in the property are relevant? How’s that?

    Many (most?) of those yelp “reviews” have been posted by people with 1 review, and no yelp friends. They are there to support/assist Vitalty in his idiocy – they don’t represent viewpoints of hotel consumers. So – they are completely meaningless.

    I think Vitaly is getting exactly what he wanted to have happen.

    (and who uses yelp for hotel reviews? Honestly…)

  3. Yelp is a horrible company. Do not give your business to them.

    Btw, a review on yelp must be the result of an actual consumer experience, so these reviews should ultimately be removed.

  4. “Congratulations, America. You’ve elected an Internet troll president.”
    –Dave Chapelle, who doesnt tweet, SNL,11/10/17.

    Be sure to catch the CNN clips of the Dawsonville Georgia Cafe where the most hideous rednecks on Earth admit that they’re with Trump because he’s going to wreck everything which they don’t like and don’t care that he’s a liar or would molest their daughters. This is who a third of your citizens are! Look for the 500 pounder on your next flight.

  5. Sorry Chappelle hosted on night after the 2016 election, a night all civilized people around the world remember as one of the most horrific in world history. Over a year later they have been proven right as Trump is easily the most hated man in world history.

  6. @Greg – hyperbole much? you need to stop huffing and gain some perspective, you cretin

  7. The biggest problem with TripAdvisor is that it has turned from a solid helpful review site to one of over the top censorship as the owners I believe Expedia?
    are more interested in selling rooms than transparency of honest reviews
    I feel like I’m in China if i dare say anything negative.
    Example elite recognition was poor (my post was deleted)
    Their customer service is horrible too if one has an issue to resolve regarding their censorship
    Its a double standard rave about a hotel no censorship
    Unfortunately censorship when selling rooms is a serious conflict of interest and I no longer post on TripAdvisor
    On more serious matters like rape death and robbery its made national news how they try to suppress anything that may affect their revenue channels
    On the less serious stuff its not to widely known what they are up too
    But I no longer spend time giving them free content while they continue with their censorship
    only stopping that behavior when it makes national news
    To me what they are doing is criminal but that’s an opinion

  8. Greg is very angry. Must be in USA illegally. Only illegal criminals are as fearful of trump as he is. Canada is calling. Please go on an extended ( multi-year) visit . #maga !

  9. As others have said TripAdvisor has a history of manipulation and censoring. I actually use Yelp for hotel and related (restaurant) reviews. I’m open to other suggestions but I definitely won’t just trust a blogger’s review as their reviews are usually biased with upgrades at a disproportionately higher rate than a “regular” platinum like me. I’ve had great and awful stays at multiple Ritz Carlton’s and sometimes no reviews can prepare you for the truly special stay.

    Like with Yelp and others you never just trust the score. You actually read the reviews and you can get a better sense of the shill reviews and not. Keep in mind writing fake 5* reviews isnt beneath some 5* hotel management staff either.

  10. Yelp actually has one of the most effective fake review filters among their peers. These reviews will move to a different part of the site and no longer count in the total score within a few weeks.

  11. The Orville had a great episode relating to social media. They encountered a society where everything was decided by public opinion, whether it was medical related (what of medicine to take), or whether someone did something bad. Once a person got a certain number of down votes the person was “reprogrammed”. Everyone had to wear a green up and red down button that could be pressed.

    I thought it was must viewing. Shows you how stupid it is to go by seat of the pants public opinion when making a decision instead of science and factual information. Sadly we are too far down this road to change things.

    TripAdvisor’s web site is horrible, I no longer use it due to how it is designed and potential security issues.

  12. There are Nazis marching in the streets of America saluting their new Fuerher, but to the fatted Trumpanzee the only hate he sees is from Trump critics and the media.

    This is why they teach in the schools in other countries that the American redneck is the stupidest creature on the planet, a destroyer of civilization.

    I wear your morbidly obese contempt as a badge of honor.

  13. They did hit Tripadvisior (I read some of them) … but because of all the one star reviews, they’ve removed all reviews in the last 4 days (probably to evaluate each review individually?).

  14. I stay at this hotel once per year for a conference. Personally, I can’t stand it. Rooms are small and old. Internet is awful. Service is okay, but it’s definitely a “classic” in the sense that the Plaza is a classic. There’s a crowd who would appreciate what the hotel has to offer. It’s just not me.

  15. Yelp’s already pulling the posts..
    Active Cleanup Alert
    This business recently made waves in the news, which often means that people come to this page to post their views on the news.

    While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business.

    As a result, your posts to this page may be removed as part of our cleanup process beginning Tuesday, January 2, 2018, but you should feel free to post your thoughts about the recent media coverage for this business on Yelp Talk at any time.

  16. Seems like a lot of Libel Defamation suits could come of this, something that I think the younger generation thinks nothing of when posting things online.

  17. Never rely on Trip Adviser for hotel reviews. People post reviews and have never been in the hotel. Try ,the reviews are invited by after a guest has stayed there and guests can rank hotels out of a score of 10. I never stay in a hotel that is less than 7.5. You can read real reviews before booking looking for ”dirty room” ”poor wifi” etc and most bookings can be ”free cancellation” It is a great British hotel booking site . I do not work for them or have any connection, just a very satisfied customer for last 10 years .

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