Saturday, October 28, 2017

Being a skilled writer, what is the best approach to solicit free stays at the finest bed and breakfasts or resorts in exchange for a detailed and thorough 5-star review of said places?

You're on your own with this one: work it out however you can work it out, with whatever B&B owner.

It may sound like I'm being unhelpful (depending upon what you had in mind, maybe I am — frankly, I’m a little skeptical of your intentions), but I'll help you with this much: hotels get no end of requests such as this (involving either cash payment or comp rooms) from both vendors and from people who think they can provide some 'service' to the hotel having “public relations” value that would have people flocking to us. A hotel manager might probably view even a potentially workable scheme skeptically and with some cynicism.

One of the most annoying things about the “hospitality industry” for people working in it is that everyone has an idea that’ll make a million bucks — so long as it’s someone else’s million bucks. As a matter of policy, we don’t publish our fax numbers, and give them out at all only very selectively; because every month, a tree dies to make enough paper to print out the junk advertising faxes that show up (cheap linens and terry, used furniture, directory listings in hotel directories that no one’s ever heard of, used furniture, secret 5-star review formulae, Nigerian fraud schemes, etc.) at hotels that do. I’ve been able to put up with having the same e-mail address for the last ten years only because I use anti-spam and Gmail filters religiously. And it’s hard for me to be polite to salespeople who call me two or three times a month at random times (usually interrupting something I’m doing) just to “touch base”.

No matter what your “skill” at writing them, the only place that many people -- including myself -- look to for hotel reviews is TripAdvisor, and if I offer you anything of value in return for writing ‘5-star’ reviews about my hotel on that, I can get into their bad books in a big way and can perhaps cause my hotel's page on TripAdvisor to be flagged as having suspect reviews. Besides, if it's done honestly and on the level, TripAdvisor is a valuable tool for hotels, even if it doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear. Anyone who works for me knows that messing with it (writing bogus bad reviews for competing hotels, or bogus glowing reviews for us -- or bogus laudatory reviews for individual employees, like themselves -- or soliciting customers or others to do the same) is a firing offense.

Who knows, some hotels are desperate enough for new business that they’ll try anything. I’ve seen some. But it won’t likely be us.

Originally appeared on Quora

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