I recently posted the following review about a hotel I stayed in (I edited out the name for this question). It was up for about a week, then I suddenly got the following message from Tripadvisor and the review was taken down:
"We value your contribution, and would like to be able to post it. However, we are unable to publish your review because it doesn't meet the following guideline:
*First-hand and Written by Actual Travelers
No second-hand information or hearsay (such as rumors or quotations from other sources or the reported opinions/experience of others).
Tip: Phrases similar to the following are frequently associated with content that violates this guideline:
"The owner is known for ..."
"In speaking with another guest we met, they mentioned that..."
"The police officer told us this kind of thing happens all the time.""
I don't think I used any second-hand info in my review and I e-mailed Tripadvisor to ask for clarification as to what exactly was wrong. That was about two weeks ago and have not received a response. I find it odd that the review was okay to post, and then suddenly taken down. In any case, I was hoping someone might have some idea what the issue is (sorry, the review is fairly long):
We stayed one night at the [hotel]. The stay started fine: the front desk person when we checked in was friendly and the room (107) appeared clean. As we do at all hotels, we checked the room for bed bugs and didn't find any or any indicia (we've never had them and had hoped to keep it that way). The next morning, however, we found what appeared to be a bed bug crawling on the bed. Having never actually seen a bed bug in person before, we looked up bed bug on out tablet to confirm what the insect was. What was crawling on the bed was exactly like the images of bed bugs on the internet.
As a preface, we check every hotel because we know that bed bugs can happen anywhere (a 5 star hotel can get bed bugs). It isn't necessarily a reflection on the hotel that there may be bed bugs, since any guest could bring them in and they could have only been there for a short time. The issue is, if bed bugs are found, how does the hotel and its staff respond. Here, [hotel]'s response was a complete failure -- apathetic, rude, and insulting. As explained below, we were, I think, rightfully concerned about the situation and what it meant for us (the possibility of taking bed bugs home) but were called by the front desk "childish" and told that we "had to leave the premises."
After finding the bed bug, we immediately called the front desk to let them know we found a beg bug -- the response was a fairly nonchalent "They'd send someone over to look." After waiting nearly five minutes, two people came in, looked at the bed bug we had cornered, and grabbed it with a tissue and left -- nothing else. Several minutes later the front desk called and told us that we would not be charged and that they would not have anyone else stay in the room until they did a further investigation. Unfortunately, that did not address our main concern which was to make sure that we did not bring them home, as we understand that getting rid of them is an extreme and costly process.
At the very least, we wanted to try to make sure that if any bed bugs had crawled into our luggage during the night, they would not get into our car or our apartment when we got home. So, we asked for some plastic bags to put our luggage in. The front desk said okay. Another 5 minutes passed and nothing. My wife went out to the front desk to ask about the bags, as well as to ask if there was another room where we could finish getting ready that morning since we didn't want to spend any more time in the bed bug room (honestly, we didn't want to spend any more time in the hotel at all, but we had things to do later in the day and wanted to be able to at least shower before we left). The front desk told her that there were no other rooms available (which is hard to believe -- even if they were booked for the next night, no one who had just stayed the night had already checked out?), although five minutes later, housekeeping bought ONE plastic bag to the room.
At that point, we put one piece of our luggage in the one bag, and bought the other pieces with us to leave. We went to the front desk to ask for more bags. The front desk person, Karen, dismissively said she'd have someone look to see if they could get us more bags. She also gave us a receipt which indicated that we had been refunded the room cost. The receipt, however, did not contain any explanation as to why (that there was a bed bug in the room). I asked that she note that that was the reason, in case we needed to follow up later with the hotel. She refused and said it wasn't necessary and that the reason was entered into her system. I asked if she could print that screen out, and she again dismissively said no. I explained that we wanted some confirmation that there had been the bed bug in the room, in case we did end up bringing them home. She said the receipt indicating the refund was our confirmation (even though it contained no explanation) and she would not give us anything further. I asked to speak to a manager and she said that managers did not work on the weekend and she was the closest we would get to one. I asked if she could call one and she said no, that we could call on Monday and speak with one. I explained, at this point in admittedly a loud voice, that I thought it was insulting that after finding a bed bug in the room, the she/the hotel could not be bothered to call a manager to help resolve the situation.
About half way during the conversation, the woman that Karen had asked to find more bags had come back with a couple of bags, and had been standing next to Karen during the second half of the conversation, during which she had been smirking for some reason. At this point, she said that we were being "childish." Karen agreed and said that we had to leave the premises. I found that demand to be insulting, as we were just trying to resolve a disturbing situation -- finding a bed bug in the room -- in a way that we would feel comfortable taking our possessions home with us knowing that we had minimized the risk of bringing them with us the best we could, and that should we fail at that, that the hotel would be in a position to help. Karen just repeated that we had to leave the hotel. I asked for her full name, as well as the other woman (they both had their first names on their name tags). She and the other woman refused. I asked for a phone number for [central office for hotel] (my phone did not give internet service in Vermont), and again she refused to give me one. At that point, further discussion seemed futile, so we left.
I remember Karen's name clearly, but unfortunately forgot the other woman's name. I had wanted to write it down, but didn't since it was more urgent at that time to try to bag up the rest of of luggage, which, having been kicked out of the hotel for being upset that we found a bed bug (there really is a first for everything) had to do in the parking lot. One of the two plastic bags we got had a hole in it. At that point, we decided just to walk to the supermarket in the shopping center next to the hotel and buy heavy duty garbage bags, after which we wrapped our luggage.
When we reached our next destination, we were able to use the internet to find out how best to kill bed bugs. So, in case there were bugs in the luggage, we sorted through the luggage as best we could to check each piece of clothing and re-bag the clothes and other items into groups (those which could be washed and drying on high heat; those which we could not which we could try freezing for two weeks in our freezer). We ended up throwing the luggage itself out because it wouldn't have fit in the freezer and could not be washed.
Again, I am giving the hotel one star not because of the bed bug. Sure, it was disturbing and I am still afraid that we may have taken one or eggs home with us -- which would be a true nightmare. But I could give the hotel the benefit of the doubt that they do bed bug checks and that the one we saw was a fluke.
But the hotel's response, personified in Karen, was the worst customer service I ever experienced. I was made to feel like I was in the wrong for not wanting to take bed bugs home with me. Moreover, how a hotel does not have a manager on duty, or at least on call, on the weekend, is beyond me. [Hotel] should be ashamed that they have someone like Karen, as well as the other woman, representing the establishment.