Duncan Bannatyne, the Dragons’ Den panellist, has reportedly chosen to spearhead a campaign against the TripAdvisor website.

Published: 26 Jan 2011

Duncan Bannatyne, the Dragons’ Den panellist, has reportedly chosen to spearhead a campaign against the TripAdvisor website.

According to a report filed by telegraph.co.uk, Bannatyne is considering suing the site over what he claims is a “dishonest” review published about one of his hotels and accused the Internet giant of trying to “bully” him into silence using threatening letters. Bannatyne said the site should commit to removing fraudulent or defamatory reviews. He is seeking to overturn the company’s long standing policy to offer recipients of negative reviews the `right to reply’.

Bannatyne’s row with the website began when a guest submitted a disparaging review comparing his Charlton House spa resort in Somerset to Fawlty Towers.

Bannatyne said: “TripAdvisor is a despicable and cowardly organisation, which is bullying small hotel owners all over the United Kingdom.”

“As a recent victim of a rogue review, I am well placed to lead the campaign for more protection against the perils of TripAdvisor.”

According to ft.com, TripAdvisor said it gives hoteliers a right of reply. “However, in the case of Mr Bannatyne’s hotels we have had several worrying examples of individuals being intimidated by Mr Bannatyne and his hotel representatives,” said Emma O’Boyle of TripAdvisor.

One example, she said, was Bannatyne posting the mobile phone number and e-mail of a reviewer on his Twitter page and accusing the reviewer of being “the most dishonest person of 2010”.

O’Boyle added: “TripAdvisor has a zero tolerance approach on bullying as we defend the freedom of speech, hence why we duly sent a letter to the Bannatyne’s Charlton House Spa Hotel manager stating that we do not condone this behaviour.”

A spokesman for Mr Bannatyne refuted the claims of bullying, saying it was TripAdvisor that was bullying small UK hotel owners. He said Mr Bannatyne had only retweeted a Twitter post that detailed the phone number of a negative reviewer, adding that TripAdvisor had refused to speak to him directly.

Boyle also reportedly argued that there was sufficient moderation on the site with a team of 'quality assurance specialists' constantly looking at reviews.

“If a property owner has an issue with a traveller review, we provide avenues for them to raise concerns and strongly encourage them to contact our owners’ centre, where issues will be investigated fully,” she said. “Hoteliers also always have the option of posting a management response to any review on their property.”


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