ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Golden Rules to Write a Nothing but Good Fake Review.
By Roland Wildberg ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Sunday, 28th July 2013
Exclusive Feature: The ultimate guide for incorrigible self-praisers among the hotel industry: Most important Do's and Dont's in fakes fabrication.

Okay, let us make no secret of the thing: We all produce fakes, more or less at least. For example in hotel reviews. Even in a relatively mature market such as Germany, there are about 30 percent of fakes, elsewhere up to 50 percent.

The bad examples from the competition are to blame about the sad fact that virtually everybody takes part in this strange competition. Clearly, if the hotel vis-a-vis suddenly has 50 smooth top recommendations in the booking portals, this can not leave you cold, can it?

Exactly – and therefore many concierges in dull night shifts sit at the computer and write on behalf of their boss one or more reviews. Enough time to create three phrases of praises is indeed between two check-in's.

Should we pounce now morally about this cheat and threaten their initiators to eternal hell and damnation? We will not do it. Nothing would benefit from doing so, and life naturally is just a little bit daylight robbery, cheating and skewed self-expression.

And besides, the industry's personnel in quiet times has the capacities to do this activity. We guess, many managers may think that "let them do something useful in their paid hours which prevents them from falling asleep". But unfortunately forgery is – like almost everything – an art, at least a craft. What we say is: Who writes reviews just like material purchase orders, will definetely produce bullshit.

It starts with false praise on aspects of the hotels, which do not exist. Who's lying, sooner or later is going to be screwed – which means, is caught by the customer and will reap really negative PR. And this spreads much faster and more sustainable as positive one.

Thus, the first golden rule to write a good fake review arises naturally from this: Write only the truth and nothing but the truth. Which is still positive enough, after all, because your property is not the Addams Family's home, is it?

Golden rule No. 2 inevitably arises: So tempting it may seem, you are advised not to hire any external writers or agencies for writing fake reviews. Why?

Because the do not know your property and almost always are terribly poorly paid – perhaps the guys not even look at the website of your hotel before starting to write. This causes quirky reviews such as "Beautiful beach location" for a city hotel in the inland and similar nonsense.

As a third rule remember please memorize the following motto: If you have to report something, you generally do not search for words. In brief: A review, which wants to be original, which describes minutely every detail, which only reports positive aspects, is not authentic, sorry. This goes for those texts by lunatics using strange spelling and grammar, constantly swearing and garnish each set with exclamation mark.

Rule No. 4 builds up immediately: Beware of any technical terminology; which you of course as a professional know by heart and have trained your staff with. Bring to your mind: It requires much self-control and self-denial to use deliberately ambiguous or even incorrect terms.

Rule No. 5 again has to do with self-control: You must resist the temptation after a hefty slating, immediately to add 5-10 positive reviews in order to restore "justice" virtually. This looks exactly what it is; namely also for other viewers.

Rule No. 6: Therefore much better than a fake review is an honest answer to a negative critique: You just write that you feel sorry for the assessment of the guest, that you turn off the problem or at least examine it and that you always enjoy more feedback – people love this.

Rule No. 7: Do not just write three sentences in telegraphese, do your best or at least make some efforts. Fake authors – as already said – are miserably paid and therefore prefer short articles. But who takes his reviewers role seriously as a guest, writes a few sentences more.

Rule No. 8: Counterfeiters must be diligent by all means! Resist it, to use the same fake review on multiple portals. Such duplicates can be found easily via search engine, and then you are exposed (real guests will never do such mass productions).

Sorry effort fakes do often write generally about the staff without naming names. No ordinary customer will do likewise - if guests do praise hotel people in real reviews, then only really by name – and even if one was truly unique. Bad example: "All in the hotel just wanted that we felt comfortable." Bullshit. Rather write about the infrastructure, the facilities, the location in general.

Rule No. 10: less is more, that also applies to reviews, and in particular with small hotels, which usually do receive only a few customer reviews. Stay relaxed and force yourself not to start any mass production of reviews. A few reviews suffice, if you are subtly pointing out strengths, which are perhaps not enough in self expression.

Conclusion: Have you read correctly? Of course we here do not urge you to create fakes. No one has the intention to build a wall. And now have fun writing.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Roland Wildberg is Travel Writer and Correspondent based in Berlin, Germany. He started as an Editor for the National daily 'Die Welt' (tourism section), later on switched to a freelanced career and nowadays mainly publishes on the Web. Observing the hospitality industry always has fascinated him as it looks like the perfect combination of sleeping and writing – work-live-balance as its best.

Roland also heads the annual 4Hoteliers ITB Berlin news micro-site journalist and video/photo teams. For more info:

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