Union Street Guest House, a hotel in Hudson, New York, is being slammed for a policy they put in place in order to prohibit wedding parties from posting negative online reviews about them. The policy, located on their website, stated that newlywed couples would be fined “$500 for any negative review posted on the internet after their special day” (read more here)
This story has taken off today, making headlines, and the hotel has since removed this policy from their website and posted the following statement to Facebook:
“The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced.”
Are you kidding me? How do they think they’ll get away with hiding behind this lame-ass excuse?
- Nobody’s buying it. This policy was stated alongside all of their other wedding party policies on their website – not to mention that there’s no sympathy or compassion what-so-ever within this statement; and
- If it was “meant to be taken down long ago”, why wasn’t it? Why would you keep something like this on your site, unless you truly were trying to prevent negative reviews from being published about you? And in retrospect, how’s that working out for you?
When you read the terms and conditions outlined within their website (see a sample below), you’re left with the interpretation that this is an establishment that prefers to protect themselves, over providing quality, customer-first service to their clients:
“Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our Inn, your friends and families may not. This is due to the fact that your guests may not understand what we offer – therefore we expect you to explain that to them.”
Sorry, but who writes something like that on their website sales page?
Need I state the takeaways?
You cannot control what others say about you online. The only thing you can control are your own actions. Instead of fining people for writing a negative review, focus on providing them with excellent service so that the only reviews they ever think of publishing about you are positive ones.
And P.S. Don’t do foolish things that will end up costing you way more repercussions than you could have ever imagined, just to be “cheeky”.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.