Union Street Guest House: Negative Reviews

Hotel charges Customers for negative reviews – Charging Customers for negative reviews is one of the shadiest things I have ever seen. Companies bury these “fines” in places that most Customers would rarely see. A hotel in Hudson, New York, called The Union Street Guest House, thought it was a good idea. The hotel charges guests $500 for writing negative reviews online. There policy for events and wedding parties was posted on their website, however due to the media attention this received, the hotel has removed this policy. It stated:

“There will be a $500 dollar fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding even if you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review.”

Policies galore – Reading all their “policies” must really make potential Customers jump at the chance to make reservations at this hotel. The following are just a few of examples of their policies:

  • “We only honor certain gift cards and at certain times/days of the year. We do not accept gift cards or gift certificates without prior notification. You will be charged up front per a regular reservation and refunded when you present your card or certificate upon arrival.”
  • “We only accept cancellations via email and you must receive a response from us in order for you to have an approved cancellation. “
  • “There will be a $35 charge for any cancellation (per room).”

Turning monotonous task into an Experience – Everyone’s job has it — those parts of the job that are just plain boring or monotonous. Not too many are worse than that of a flight attendant’s pre flight safety announcement. You have heard it so many times that you’ve stopped listening. You can probably recite it.

Surprise & Delight – A Southwest flight attendant figured out how to make an experience out of this mundane task, and even better, get the attention of her passengers. This Southwest Airlines employee totally entertains her Customers when she says things like, “Position your seatbelt tight and low across your hips, like my grandmother wears her support bra.” And “We’re going to make sure… your carry-on items are shoved completely under the seat in front of you, leaving absolutely no room for your knees or feet.”

Joke of the day – I recently called Zappos.com and while I waited for a representative to pick up, they shared their joke of the day. Which was brilliant because it was entertaining, different and didn’t make me realize how long I was waiting.

How can you stand out? What parts of your job are boring for you to execute and possibly boring for your Customers to receive? How can you surprise and delight your Customers by changing how it is delivered? It may be boring policy and procedures you have to share. Can you make it funny? Please share with me any ideas you come up with or may already have done in the past that makes you and your company stand out.

Matt Harding keynote speaker at the Secret Service Summit – Where the hell is Matt? Well, on November 5th & 6th he will be presenting at the Secret Service Summit in Cleveland, Ohio. The DiJulius Group is so excited to have Matt share is inspiring journey and lessons he learned creating that worldwide dancing video.

CX Talk – Don’t miss this month’s Customer eXperience Talk Show (CX Talk), on September 24th, where Dave Murray and John DiJulius share the latest in the world of Customer eXperience; everything from hot topics, latest trends, incredible Above & Beyond stories, Customer service blunders, best practices, and valuable advice. Register today to watch this month’s CX Talk.

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.