Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On-line Reviews

Killahevlin is a proud member of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) and fully supports ... both in word and in deed ... the press release just published by PAII.

For Immediate Release Contact: Jay Karen, President & CEO
Professional Association of Innkeepers
856-310-1102 phone
856-310-1105 fax

Innkeeping Association Urges Ethical, Fair Behavior for Online Review Systems Haddon Heights, NJ, June 11, 2008 --- The largest international association of innkeepers is promoting standards to ensure fair and ethical use of online guest review systems -- one of the fastest growing segments of so-called "social media" on the Internet. The Board of Directors of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) is calling on its members to adhere to the highest ethical standards, for example to not offer incentives to guests for posting a review. Similarly, PAII is asking the companies that provide online review systems to respond fairly and in a timely manner when innkeepers complain to them about false or misleading reviews posted about their properties. In just a few years, online review systems have dramatically changed the way millions of people plan their travels. The web-based technology used by,, and other companies enables leisure and business travelers to read first-hand reviews by other travelers of their experiences at hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, resorts, and restaurants. "The widespread use of online guest reviews is a fairly recent phenomenon, and many innkeepers feel at the mercy of exceptional situations, rather than what systems seem to be designed for - honest feedback from guests. The systems most widely used by B&B guests try to prevent fraud and unethical behavior, but they are not fail-safe," said Jay Karen, PAII's President and Chief Executive Officer. Karen said most of the problems he hears about from innkeepers involve mean-spirited, false and misleading reviews posted by guests, and the occasional difficulties experienced by innkeepers when pursing an expedient method of addressing problems. In a few cases, innkeepers have discovered false reviews posted by their competitors. "There have been media reports and assumptions that owners and managers of smaller independent properties, like bed and breakfasts, are somehow more prone to circumventing the rules of these sites. While this is not true, we want to set the record straight regarding the ethical standards this industry supports, and this statement articulates our position." PAII's position statement addresses the appropriate decorum which innkeepers should follow. In addition, the statement covers what the association's board feels is "fair play" for the sites that offer opportunities for guests to leave reviews. "False negative reviews on these sites can definitely color a potential guest's likelihood of making a reservation, and we want to encourage administrators of these sites to rapidly address grievances and reports of fraudulent activity," says Karen. "Lost business is a very serious matter, especially if you're an innkeeper with only 5 rooms in your inventory." Karen reports that the systems are generally working well for innkeepers, but that singular incidents of indiscretion seem to disproportionately impact innkeepers, who have reported grievances to the PAII office. "The leaders in the business of online reviews are TripAdvisor, which promotes its services to the general traveling public, and, which specializes in our industry. Innkeepers and guests should avail themselves to all reputable sources, but sites that demonstrate a deep understanding of the B&B marketplace are going to be most helpful when travelers are looking for the special experience offered by a stay at an inn or bed and breakfast." "While there have definitely been transgressions in any industry that has online user reviews, we believe the rules established by these web sites are only one piece of the puzzle," says Debrah Mosimann, PAII's board chair and owner of Swiss Woods Inn in Lititz, Pennsylvania. "It's important for an industry's representative group to establish its own benchmark of appropriate conduct. In many ways, these web sites are doing a great service for our industry by bringing to light matters that innkeepers need to address at their own properties, and yet also giving exposure to hidden gems in our industry that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Some days it seems like the Wild West out there with user reviews, and we hope to provide a little bit of guidance to the stakeholders in our industry - the user review sites and the several thousand innkeepers who deliver the experiences being revealed for the public to see." PAII's position statement, while not an official code of ethics, is intended to address a current matter of importance in the innkeeping industry. Contact:
Jay Karen, President & CEOProfessional Association of Innkeepers Internationaljay@paii.org856-310-1102 phone856-310-1105 About PAII:The Professional Association of Innkeepers International is the innkeeping industry's trade organization, representing owners of bed and breakfasts and country inns. PAII provides education, communications, public relations, networking, and research services to its membership and the greater industry. PAII hosts the world's largest annual gathering of innkeepers, the Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show, and publishes the industry's leading trade publication, Innkeeping Quarterly (IQ).
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Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII)Position Statement on the Ethics and Use of Online Reviews