Peter Hook, a communications manager with Accor Hotels in Asia and the Pacific, has been caught posting a series of boastful reviews on TripAdvisor for his own hotel group, while leaving critical reviews for a number of the company’s competitors, following the introduction of the TripAdvisor Facebook app.
Where on the TripAdvisor website a reviewer is only identified only by their username, the new Facebook app displays the reviewer’s real name as well their photograph and location.
As such, online reputation management firm Kwikche quickly discovered that Tavare, a user who has anonymously contributed 106 reviews including several five-star reviews for Accor hotels, was actually Peter Hook from Sydney.
Hook said of Accor Hotel’s Sea Temple Surfers Paradise that he “took advantage of a good price and really loved it from start to finish” and at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra he “didn't know much about the hotel scene so booked a brand I knew well. It turned out to be a good choice.”
Meanwhile he said that the “very ordinary bar food, high prices and ordinary service” of rival hotel the Park Hyatt Sydney “didn't match the music or the light show”. Similarly, the InterContinental Adelaide was “stuck in a time warp and rather expensive”.
Defending his reviews, Hook told Telegraph Travel: “Every review I have written has resulted from personally experiencing the product.
“There have been 5-star reviews of competitors – most recently Four Seasons’ excellent Sydney restaurant The Woods – as well as less-than-favourable comments about our own properties.”
He continued: “Because I cover such a wide range of travel experiences, it would not be appropriate to review them as a company representative, hence the pseudonym. However, it is a fair to say that my professional position should have been mentioned in any reviews of hotels."
A spokesman for TripAdvisor, which has rules prohibiting reviews “written by ownership or management”, said: "It would clearly be inappropriate for a senior executive of a hotel company to review hotels within their own company. All hotel reviews posted by this member are being removed pending investigation.”