The annual contest draws attention to TripAdvisor’s “Travelers’ Choice Award Winners” in 10 categories, from the Best Luxury Hotels to the Best Inns and B&Bs.
Each year, consumers nominate the filthiest hotels, then weigh in with their comments, photos and videos. They report on things like mold, broken windows, and crumbling ceilings and walls. They complain about peeling paint and broken locks on the doors.
Some hotel visitors have even found lurching elevators, air conditioning units that don’t work in the middle of summer, heaters that don’t work properly in the winter, and broken windows that haven’t been repaired. And, of course, there are comments about critters like cockroaches and bed bugs.
One visitor took a photo of his room that shows where the headboard had fallen off the bed at the Hotel Carter in New York City. At the website, you can even send the list to a friend.
The contest draws lots of attention by the bloggers and in online forums. Here’s a complaint from one hotel visitor:
“The grossest thing…was the drain clogged with years worth of hair. It literally came out in a solid mass. I gagged.”
Publicity Hounds can learn dozens of lessons from this contest:
—Know what consumers are saying about you online. Create Google Alerts for your own name, your URL and the name of your company.
—Respond to bad reviews and explain what you’re doing to solve the problem. If you hide in the shadows when the news is bad, the conversation will continue without you. (See “How to Pitch the Best Bloggers & Create a Publicity Explosion.”)
—The best way to avoid being nominated for these “10 Worst” lists is to clean up your act and provide outstanding customer service and a great product.
What do you think? What else can Publicity Hounds learn from this contest?